French lawmakers approve bill enshrining abortion rights in the constitution

© Sarah Meyssonier, Reuters

French lawmakers voted on Thursday to enshrine abortion rights in the constitution, with MPs on the left and centre saying the US Supreme Court's overturning of a landmark ruling in June showed the need for new steps.

The vote in the National Assembly, France's lower house of parliament, marks only the first step on the path to enshrining the right to abortion in the constitution.

In order to change the constitution, a bill must be voted on in the same terms by the lower house and the Senate.

The latter is controlled by the right and last month rejected a cross-party bill aimed at constitutionalising the right to abortion and contraception.

>> On the rocky road to enshrining abortion rights in the French constitution

On Thursday, MPs from the left-wing party La France insoumise (France Unbowed) party and the ruling centrist coalition struck a deal on the wording of the new clause, which passed with a huge majority.

"The law guarantees the effectiveness and equal access to the right to voluntarily end a pregnancy," reads the proposed constitutional addition to article 66.

It was approved with 337 votes for and 32 against.

Adding it to the constitution would further protect this right and make it harder to overturn in France, said Panot.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters)

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