The inclusion of abortion in the Constitution on hold

More than six months after the commitment made by Emmanuel Macron to include the freedom to resort to abortion in the Constitution, this measure is on hold, to the great dismay of associations and the left who are alarmed by the regression of this right in the United States as in Europe.
The Head of State “spoke on March 8, since then we do not have the impression that this question is on the agenda of the President of the Republic and the government”, emphasizes to AFP Sarah Durocher, president of Family Planning, who will demonstrate like other organizations Thursday evening in Paris on the occasion of International Abortion Rights Day.

A year and a half after the shock produced by the annulment of the ruling guaranteeing the United States the right to abortion throughout the country, and the calls in France from elected representatives of the majority and the left to act to To avoid such a regression in France, the blow seems to have settled from the point of view of the executive.

The question of the inclusion of abortion in the Constitution was certainly debated in Parliament via a bill adopted at first reading in the National Assembly then in the Senate after modification, it is now a question of “freedom” of women to resort to abortion and not “right” as provided for in the initial text.

A stalled initiative

Emmanuel Macron clearly affirmed in March his desire to include “the freedom” of women to have recourse to this right in the Constitution as part of a major institutional reform. But since then, the initiative has stalled and its defenders fear that it will find itself trapped in a global reform of institutions which is far from unanimous. No indication was given concerning the parliamentary shuttle, nor the question of the constitutional revision bill.

In any case, nothing should be decided before a new meeting between Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of the different political parties which should give pride of place to institutional questions. But no date has yet been set.

A “lack of will” and a form of “cynicism” denounced

For environmentalist senator Mélanie Vogel, putting the issue of abortion in a more global reform – which to be adopted will have to be approved by 3/5th of the members of Parliament meeting in Congress – illustrates a “lack of political will” and a form of “cynicism”. “It’s putting a consensual proposal in a vehicle that is going to crash into the wall,” believes the elected official. “Putting parliamentarians in a situation of having to vote on things that have no connection guarantees the failure of the project.”

“It’s good to pay tribute to Simone Veil etc. but behind that we are waiting for actions and for the moment the actions are not there,” underlines the leader of the LFI deputies Mathilde Panot.

86% of French people in favor of including the right to abortion in the Constitution

The inclusion of abortion in the Constitution, a right currently recognized in an ordinary law, would complicate any attempt by the legislator to suppress this right or seriously undermine it, its defenders point out. “We are not at the same stage as in the United States but we are seeing restrictions on the right to abortion in Poland or even in Hungary and it should not be long in Italy with the arrival of extreme right in power”, notes Sarah Durocher.

“Why in France would there be an exception, how can we say that abortion cannot be threatened in France?”, she adds, citing the recent attacks launched against family planning branches and the “disinformation” orchestrated by “anti-choice” movements.

According to a survey published in November 2022 by Ifop, nearly nine in ten French people (86%) are in favor of including the right to abortion in the Constitution. Published on Wednesday, the latest official figures show an increasing number of abortions in 2022 (234,000) after two years of exceptional decline linked to the Covid-19 epidemic.


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