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France to become first country to constitutionally guarantee abortion rights



France is on the verge of making a historic move, as lawmakers are expected to definitively enshrine abortion rights within the country’s constitution. This would make France the first nation in the world to offer this level of legal protection for abortion access.

The legislation has been met with overwhelming public support and is anticipated to pass easily during a joint session of both houses of parliament at the Palace of Versailles today, March 4th, 2024. This follows successful votes in both the National Assembly (lower house) and the Senate (upper house) earlier this year.

The move comes amidst a global backdrop of heightened anxieties surrounding abortion access. The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States has reignited debates about women’s reproductive rights internationally. France’s decision to solidify abortion rights in its constitution sends a powerful message in favor of women’s bodily autonomy and healthcare choices.

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A Long Road to Codification

While abortion has been legal in France since 1975, championed by women’s rights icon Simone Veil, it has remained anchored in ordinary legislation. This meant it could potentially be weakened or reversed by future parliaments.

The current push to constitutionalize abortion rights was significantly influenced by the US Supreme Court decision. President Emmanuel Macron publicly pledged to enshrine abortion rights in the constitution following the Roe v. Wade reversal.

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