French Senate to Vote on Bill Establishing Abortion as Constitutional Right

French Senate to vote on a bill proposed by President Macron to enshrine a woman's right to abortion in the constitution, following the National Assembly's approval. Get details here.

French Senate to Vote on Bill Establishing Abortion as Constitutional Right
French Senate to Vote on Bill Establishing Abortion as Constitutional Right

International Desk. Feb 28: France’s Senate is poised to cast its vote on a significant bill aimed at solidifying a woman’s right to abortion within the country’s constitution. This legislative move, promised by President Emmanuel Macron, follows a wave of concern sparked by shifts in abortion rulings in the United States.

The upcoming vote in the Senate comes in the wake of a resounding approval of the proposal by the lower house, the National Assembly, back in January. While a majority of senators seem to support the constitutional amendment, there are apprehensions voiced by some conservatives regarding its wording, potentially influencing the vote’s outcome.

President Macron’s administration seeks to amend Article 34 of the constitution, specifying that the law dictates the conditions under which women can exercise their freedom to seek abortion, ensuring its guarantee.

Should the Senate adopt the identical version of the bill as the National Assembly, the constitutional change will necessitate final approval by a three-fifths majority in a joint session of parliament, typically convened at the Palace of Versailles. However, if the Senate opts to modify or reject the proposal, it will return to the National Assembly for further deliberation.

Notably, none of France’s major political parties represented in parliament are disputing the right to abortion, which was decriminalized in 1975. The government underscores in its bill introduction the threat to abortion rights, particularly citing the recent overturning of a longstanding ruling by the US Supreme Court in 2022.

The introduction to the French legislation highlights global challenges to abortion rights, referencing events such as the controversial tightening of abortion laws in Poland, which triggered significant protests in the country last year. The Polish constitutional court’s ruling in 2020 further restricted abortion access, particularly in cases of severe fetal deformities, including Down Syndrome.

In conclusion, the French Senate’s upcoming vote on this pivotal bill underscores the nation’s commitment to safeguarding women’s reproductive rights amidst global challenges and shifts in abortion legislation.