France moves closer to make abortion a constitutional right

French lawmakers on Thursday took a step closer to enshrining abortion rights in the country’s constitution.

In a rare cross-party vote, centrist and leftist members of the country’s National Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to add a clause to the constitution to guarantee the right to an abortion.

The clause reads, “The law guarantees the effectiveness and equal access to the right to voluntarily end a pregnancy.”

The measure, proposed by the leftist La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, passed with 337 votes in favor and 32 votes against the measure, while 18 people abstained.

“Victory!” the party’s leader, Mathilde Panot, tweeted after the vote. “Today, France speaks to the world,” she added.

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Sacha Houlié, from President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Renaissance party, also celebrated the “big step,” according to The Guardian. But he also warned that the process should be long. “It’s just the first step,” he said.

The measure now needs to be approved by the Senate, and then be sent to a nationwide referendum.

People gather outside the National assembly, in Paris, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022.

Even though abortion was decriminalized in France in 1975, nothing in the constitution explicitly guarantees that right.

Several lawmakers said that the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade — the 1973 ruling that guaranteed a constitutional right to an abortion — showed that France should act quickly.

“By introducing abortion rights into the Constitution, France would become a pioneer in terms of women’s rights,” Panot said, according to Reuters.

“We don’t want to give any chance to people hostile to abortion and contraception rights,” she added.

With News Wire Services

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