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Macron to protect right to abortion
By:China Daily Global
update:November 01,2023
Nov. 1, 2023 -- France's President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to enshrine abortion rights in the country's constitution, with a draft proposal set to be submitted to the State Council, the country's highest administrative court, within the week.
In a social media post on Sunday, Macron said a bill would then be presented to Cabinet, with a view to making abortion rights constitutional by the end of the year.
"In 2024, the right of women to choose abortion will become irreversible," Macron said.
While abortion was decriminalized in France under a 1975 law, the constitution currently does not guarantee abortion rights, reported the Associated Press.
France is moving toward guaranteeing these rights unconditionally, following a promise Macron made in March, on International Women's Day, which came in response to a rollback of abortion rights in the United States last year.
Macron said at the time, he wanted to change the constitution in order "to enshrine the freedom of women to have an abortion, to solemnly ensure that nothing can stop or undo what will be irreversible".
He said: "A universal message of solidarity to all women who today see this right violated: France will engrave in its constitution the freedom of women to have recourse to abortion."
An opinion poll conducted in November 2022 revealed 89 percent of respondents favored enshrining abortion rights in the constitution, reported Agence France-Presse. Government figures indicate that 234,000 abortions were performed in France last year.
Altering the French constitution is a rigorous process that requires either a referendum or endorsement from a minimum of three-fifths of both parliamentary houses — the National Assembly and the Senate.
By introducing its own bill, the government can bypass a referendum and call a special "congress "of both houses, which can adopt the amendment if the required majority is reached, reported AP.
Commenting on the announcement in a social media post, Berengere Couillard, the minister for gender equality and the fight against discrimination, said: "This is a victory for all women and a strong symbol sent to other countries of the world where our rights are losing ground."
In contrast to France, other European countries have seen the tightening of abortion laws. Hungary's far-right government mandated women to "listen to the fetal heartbeat" before they can have a safe abortion, reported The Guardian newspaper.
Poland, already known for its stringent abortion laws, further restricted access in 2020, ruling abortions due to fetal defects as unconstitutional.
Even though abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978, a large number of gynecologists are moral objectors, making accessing the procedure difficult to secure, and despite the far-right government's opposition to abortion, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni stated the law would remain unchanged.
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