France debates enshrining abortion rights in constitution

PARIS (AP) — Lawmakers in France’s lower house of parliament began debating a proposal Thursday to enshrine abortion rights in the country’s constitution, the first step in a lengthy and uncertain legislative battle prompted by the rollback of abortion rights in the United States.

Authors of the proposal, from a left-wing coalition, argued it was aimed at “protecting and guaranteeing the fundamental right to voluntary termination of pregnancy and to contraception by inscribing it into our Constitution.”

Abortion in France was decriminalized under a key 1975 law, but there is nothing in the constitution that would guarantee abortion rights.

Mathilde Panot, head of hard-left France Unbowed group at the National Assembly and co-signatory of the proposal, said “our intent is clear: we want not to leave any chance to people opposed to the right to abortion and to contraception.”

French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said the centrist government supports the initiative.

He referred to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June, which eliminated the federal constitutional right to abortion and left the decision to the states.

“The right to abortion we thought was acquired for 50 years (in the U.S.) was in reality not at all acquired,” he said.

Source: AP

Update (The vote was 226-12 in favor of enshrining this into the French Constitution):

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