French MPs vote to enshrine abortion right in constitution

AFP - [email protected]
French MPs vote to enshrine abortion right in constitution
MPs in France have voted to enshrine the right to abortion in the country's constitution. (Photo by Emmanuel Dunand / AFP)

France's lower house of parliament overwhelmingly approved a measure to inscribe abortion as a "guaranteed freedom" in the constitution, a pledge made by President Emmanuel Macron last year.


But the controversial plan now goes to the upper-house Senate, where it faces resistance from the conservative Republicans and Marine Le Pen's far-right Rassemblement National.

The measure passed the National Assembly by a vote of 493 to 30, with almost all members of Macron's centrist minority coalition as well as left-wing opposition parties approving.

"Tonight, the Assembly didn't miss its rendezvous with the history of women and with history in general," Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said.

Macron and other French lawmakers called for the right to an abortion - which has been legal in France since 1974 - to be inscribed in the constitution after the US Supreme Court in 2022 ended an almost half-century national constitutional right to abortion.

Changes to the French constitution require either a referendum or approval by three-fifths of a combined vote of both chambers of parliament.


The government chose the term "guaranteed freedom" to thread a needle between the lower house, which earlier voted to enshrine the "right" to an abortion, and the Senate, which is dominated by centre-right parties and which so far has approved only "freedom" for abortion.

Many centre-right members of the Senate oppose mentioning abortion in the constitution at all, saying that it is not a constitutional issue and that access to abortion is not threatened in France. The Senate will start examining the text on February 28th. 



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also