French parliament approves bill adding abortion rights to constitution

AFP - STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN

Lawmakers in France's lower house of parliament voted Thursday to add the right to abortion to the constitution. The move was approved with 337 votes for and 32 against, with the bill now set to be sent to the conservative-majority Senate for approval.

Members of parliament from the left-wing France Unbowed (LFI) party and the ruling centrist coalition struck a deal on the wording of the new legislation, 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.

The initiative was prompted by the US Supreme Court's decision this year to overturn the nationwide right to termination procedures for Americans.

The conservative government of Poland has also heavily restricted abortion rights.

"The assembly is speaking to the world, our country is speaking to the world," said jubilant MP Mathilde Panot from LFI, dedicating the vote to women in Hungary, Poland and the United States.

Panot, who spearheaded the legislation along with a member of President Emmanuel Macron's party, said the move was necessary in France to protect "against a regression".

Just the first step

Abortion was legalised in France in 1974 in a law championed by Health Minister Simone Veil.

A previous attempt to inscribe the right to abortion into the French constitution, with different wording, was rejected by the Senate in October.

(With newswires)


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