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Abortion Rights: ‘Set In Stone’

The Supreme Court of the US recently ended the Constitutional Right to Abortion (that had been in place for nearly five decades in a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe versus Wade case), saying that States could ban it now. Soon after the Supreme Court killed Abortion Rights on June 24, 2022, thousands started staging protests in different US cities. Protesters are divided into groups, both supporting and condemning the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the verdict of Roe versus Wade case. To prevent this from happening in France, a group of members of the National Assembly have proposed a Bill to inscribe Abortion Rights into the Constitution. The two National Assembly members have issued a statement, stressing that they are “members of President Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche! (LREM) party“.

It may be noted that the Right to Abortion is already inscribed in a 1975 Law, relating to the voluntary termination of pregnancy within the legal framework that decriminalised abortion, in France. Talking to the media, LREM politician and National Assembly member Marie-Pierre Rixain said that a Constitutional Law would cement Abortion Rights for future generations. She also said: “What happened elsewhere must not happen in France.” She explained that the proposed Bill would include a provision, making it “impossible to deprive a person of the right to voluntarily terminate a pregnancy”.

French President Macron, too, has strongly criticised the decision of the US Supreme Court, stressing that the verdict undermined women’s liberties. “Abortion is a Fundamental Right for all women. It must be protected,” he added. Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne stressed that her Government would support the Bill “wholeheartedly“, adding: “For all women, for Human Rights, we must set this gain in stone. The Parliament must be able to unite overwhelmingly over this text.

For her part, leader of Macron’s party group in the National Assembly Aurore Bergé described the US Supreme Court’s decision to revoke Abortion Rights as “catastrophic for women around the world”. “We must take steps in France today so we do not have any reversal of existing laws tomorrow,” she insisted. In a deeply polarised domestic political landscape, Bergé urged the French lawmakers not to take chances on Fundamental Rights, even if they already were inscribed in Law. She said: “Women’s Rights are still rights that are fragile and are regularly called into question. We don’t change the Constitution like we change the Law.

Courtesy: Hindustan Times

The National Assembly extended the legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy from 12 to 14 weeks in France a couple of years ago. In 2018-19, Opposition lawmakers made an unsuccessful attempt to amend the Constitution in order to include the Right to Abortion.

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