Breaking News: Lawmakers to constitutionalize abortion rights

The French National Assembly has passed a historic bill, advancing the country toward enshrining the right to abortion in its constitution. Following the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, this move became a priority for the French government. The bill received overwhelming support in the lower house, with 493 in favor and 30 against.

If the bill becomes law, France will be the first country globally to include abortion rights in its constitution. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and Gender Equality Minister Aurore Bergé praised the vote as a significant victory for women’s rights, emphasizing the duty to progress for future generations.

However, the bill’s journey to adoption is not assured. A Senate vote is scheduled for February, followed by a vote in the French Congress, requiring a three-fifths majority. Some opposition, including Senate President Gérard Lacher, argues that constitutionalization is unnecessary, claiming that abortion rights in France are not under immediate threat.

The push for constitutionalization is a response to the global context of reproductive rights rollbacks, with concerns raised about potential conservative shifts. Campaigners stress the need to safeguard abortion rights amid rising anti-abortion movements. The symbolic nature of the bill is acknowledged, with supporters highlighting its potential to inspire change internationally.

While some argue that the bill may not immediately address on-the-ground access issues, others see it as a groundbreaking move that will shape attitudes toward abortion for generations. French singer-songwriter Barbara Pravi, who supports the bill, hopes it could provide inspiration to women worldwide, emphasizing the universal message in defense of women’s rights.