As a result of restrictions in other nations, France is moving towards unequivocally guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion, and President Emmanuel Macron has committed to do so by next year.
On Sunday, the French president announced that by the end of the week, his government would submit a draft text to France’s highest administrative court to have abortion rights recognized as a fundamental human right.
He stated on social media that the right of women to choose abortion will become irrevocable in 2024.
Macron tweeted on International Women’s Day, March 8, after the US Supreme Court struck down federal abortion rights, promising action: France will permanently enshrine in its Constitution women’s right to access abortion, sending a message of support to all women who now experience violations of this fundamental freedom.
Despite opposition from right-wing parties who maintained that abortion rights in France were not in jeopardy, the resolution was supported by an overwhelming majority in the national assembly in November and by the Senate in February.
To make changes to the French constitution, a referendum must be held, or three-fifths of each chamber of parliament must approve the change.
Macron can call an extraordinary congress of both houses because the government proposed a new bill rather than one originally drafted among parliamentarians, thereby avoiding the need for a referendum. The Palace of Versailles is a popular venue for such conferences.
Abortion in France was legalized in 1975, and various legislation implemented since then have tried to enhance the conditions for abortions, mainly by protecting the health and confidentiality of women, as well as easing the financial burden of the surgery.
The French government estimates that 234,000 abortions were performed in the country in 2017.
Italy has had legal abortion since 1978, yet few doctors are willing to perform the surgery due to moral objections. Despite Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s assurances that the legislation will not be amended, Italy’s new far-right government, which took office in October, is vehemently opposed to abortion.