It's a historic day beyond the Alps. France introduces the right to abortion in the Constitution: it is the first country in the world


By John

France becomes the first country in the world to explicitly include the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) in its constitution, a modification of the fundamental charter approved by the overwhelming majority of members of parliament exceptionally gathered in congress in Versailles, the palace of the Sun King on the outskirts of Paris. “French pride, universal message,” wrote the president Emmanuel Macron on of sealing open to the public”, before the Ministry of Justice. Of the total 925 eligible parliamentarians, 852 voted today for the constitutional revision: 780 votes in favor, 72 against. The majority needed to amend the Constitution, that of three-fifths of Parliament, has been largely achieved . At the announcement, a very long applause – started by the president of the assembled Congress, the president of the Assemblée Nationale Yael Braun-Pivet – resounded in the Hall of the Aile du Midi of Louis XIV's castle. At the same time, on the Place du Trocadéro in Paris, where thousands of people were gathered in front of a giant screen connected live to Versailles, joy exploded.

In front, the Eiffel Tower began to sparkle to celebrate the event, while the writing on the tower lit up: 'Mon corps, mon choix', 'My body, my choice. The right to abortion is always “in danger”, at the “mercy of those who decide” whether to recognize it or not, the prime minister had warned Gabriel Attal, according to which today's vote redeems “a moral debt” towards all women who “have suffered first hand”. With this constitutional change, the Prime Minister continued in his speech before the vote, France will be “a pioneer, faithful to its heritage as a beacon of humanity” and “homeland of human rights and also and above all of women's rights”. In the bipartisan vote, which brought together the entire constitutional arc, from the extreme left of Jean-Luc Mélenchon to the extreme right of Marine Le Pen, the sentence was introduced into article 34: «The law determines the conditions in which exercises the freedom guaranteed to women to resort to voluntary termination of pregnancy”. For yes, a majority of 3 fifths of the votes cast was required, achieved without difficulty after the almost unanimous vote of the House and Senate (493 deputies against 30 and 267 senators against 50) in recent weeks. The decision to include the “freedom” to resort to abortion in the fundamental charter was announced by Macron a year ago, in March 2023. According to Mathilde Panot, group leader of La France Insoumise (LFI), one of the main promoters of the initiative, today's step also constitutes a “promise for women fighting everywhere in the world”. “We will continue for those who resist Trump, Bolsonaro, Orban, Milei, Putin, Giorgia Meloni, without forgetting the mullahs and theocratic dictators”, echoed the socialist senator, Laurence Rossignol, eliciting standing ovations from the congress in Versailles. There was no shortage of criticism, starting with that of the Vatican and the French Episcopal Conference (Cef). The Pontifical Academy for Life warned that “precisely in the era of universal human rights, there cannot be a right to take a human life.” While in a note released this morning, the French bishops launched an appeal for fasting and prayer. «Our country – according to the body led by Monsignor Eric de Moulins Beaufort – would be honored by including the promotion of the rights of women and children. Of all European countries, France is the only one where the number of abortions does not decrease and has even grown in the last two years. Above all, we pray that our fellow citizens will rediscover the taste for life, to give it, to receive it, to accompany it, to have and raise children.” In the afternoon, several hundred anti-abortion demonstrators gathered near the palace, on the initiative of the 'Marche pour la Viè' association, to protest against the reform which, according to polls, has the support of 80% of the French. The protesters said they wanted to “protect life” and contested the fact that – according to them and despite the government's reassurances – “doctors will no longer have the opportunity to exercise their right of conscience”.