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Women have had a legal right to abortion in France since 1974 (BIgstock)

France has enshrined the right to abortion in its constitution, a world first welcomed by women’s rights groups as historic and harshly criticised by pro-life groups. Source: Yahoo News.

MPs and senators yesterday overwhelmingly backed the move, by 780 votes against 72, in a special joint vote of the two houses of parliament, under the gilded ceilings of Versailles Palace, just outside Paris.

Abortion rights activists gathered in central Paris cheered and applauded as the Eiffel Tower glowed in the background and displayed the message “MyBodyMyChoice” as the result of the vote was announced on a giant screen.

Abortion rights are more widely accepted in France than in the US and many other countries, with polls showing about 80 per cent of French people back the fact that abortion is legal.

Women have had a legal right to abortion in France since a 1974 law, which many harshly criticised at the time.

But the US Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to reverse the Roe v Wade ruling that recognised women’s constitutional right to abortion prompted activists to push France to become the first country to explicitly protect the right in its basic law.

Monday’s vote enshrined in Article 34 of the French constitution that “the law determines the conditions in which a woman has the guaranteed freedom to have recourse to an abortion”.

Pascale Moriniere, the president of the Association of Catholic Families, called the move a defeat for pro-life campaigners.

“It’s (also) a defeat for women and, of course, for all the children who cannot see the day,” she said.

In a statement issued ahead of yesterday’s vote, the Pontifical Academy for Life echoed the stance put forward by the French Bishops Conference that abortion, “which remains an attack on life”, cannot be seen “exclusively from the perspective of women’s rights”.

The Pontifical Academy insisted that “in the era of universal human rights, there cannot be a ‘right’ to taking a human life.”


France makes abortion a constitutional right (Reuters via Yahoo News)

PAV on French abortion bill: There cannot be a ‘right’ to taking a human life (Vatican News)