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French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

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French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution
Aurore Berge is among the French MPs leading the charge to enshrine abortion rights in the constitution. (Photo by Alain JOCARD / AFP)

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

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Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron's Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 "Roe v. Wade" decision on Friday.

"In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them," said Aurore Bergé - the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

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Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: "What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron's party - which back then was known as La République en Marche - refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as "fierce opponents of women's access to abortion" and said it was important "to take no risk" in securing it. 

READ MORE France's Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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Anonymous 2022/06/29 21:48
I agree that this seems unneeded. As a US Citizen, however, I should explain that the overturning of Roe v Wade here is not what many believe it to be. It simply returns the question of abortion to the individual states, which is where the court believe it should be decided based on the wishes of the people in those states. The controversy is about whether the FEDERAL constitution guarantees abortion rights. Many states (maybe most) will continue to allow abortion, which varying regulations. The decision does NOT make abortion illegal.
Anonymous 2022/06/27 18:36
What is the point of this move exactly? France has no organized pro-life movement to speak of. The right to abortion has broad support among the electorate. It seems like empty symbolism.

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