FFrance is the first country in the world to include „freedom of abortion” in its constitution. Representatives of both houses of Parliament voted in favor of the corresponding constitutional amendment on Monday at the Palace of Versailles by 780 votes to 72. The announcement of the result was met with sustained applause.
The two houses of Parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate, have already approved the bill individually. Article 34 of the Constitution stipulates “guaranteeing women’s freedom to have an abortion.”
Prime Minister Gabriel Attal spoke of the „moral guilt” of all the women who suffered. He stressed that „the suffering and memory of many, many women have haunted us for decades because of their inability to be liberated,” welcoming the „successful conclusion of a long struggle.”
After the vote, supporters of the constitutional amendment chanted in the square opposite the Eiffel Tower. Many people watched the discussion and voted on a large screen. The Eiffel Tower sparkled in reverence. “Pride of France. A global message,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X.
Opponents of constitutional change gathered near the Congress in Versailles. The Catholic Church also made clear that it continues to reject abortions. “In the era of universal human rights, there can be no ‘right’ to destroy human life,” the Pontifical Academy for Life said, according to BFMTV.
The inclusion in the Constitution is primarily symbolic. Abortions up to the 10th week of pregnancy have remained unpunished in France since 1975. Pregnant women in France can now have an abortion up to the 14th week, and their health insurance covers the costs. With the initiative to amend the constitution in 2022, President Macron responded to cuts in abortion rights in the United States of America.
The constitutional amendment document was stamped with the state seal at Versailles using a historic stamp press. It is scheduled to ceremoniously conclude again on International Women's Day on March 8.