As U.S. Faces a Rising Tide of Abortion Bans and Restrictions, France Enshrines Freedom of Access in the Constitution

The U.S. and France offer starkly different environments for women—but both countries share a strong feminist tradition. How do we explain their radically different abortion trajectories?

3/27/2024
by SHOSHANNA EHRLICH and LAURA FRADER, Ms. Magazine

In 2023, seeking “to avoid a U.S.-like scenario for women in France, as hard-right groups are gaining ground,” President Emmanuel Macron promised a constitutional amendment affirming women’s right to abortion and to control over their own bodies. The amendment subsequently passed by a crushing majority of 780 to 72 votes and was inserted ceremoniously into the French Constitution on March 8, 2024, International Women’s Day.

In celebration, the Eiffel Tower was lit up with the message “My Body, My Choice.” This global first came approximately 50 years after the French Parliament first voted to decriminalize abortion with the passage of the Veil Law, named for feminist minister of health Simone Veil, who championed the reform.

Continued: https://msmagazine.com/2024/03/27/france-abortion-usa-bans-constitution-right/


Abortion rights at issue in European elections

Abortion rights are featuring in this year’s European election campaign in a way we have not seen before.

MAGDALENA FRENNHOFF LARSÉN
15th March 2024

The recent landmark decision in France to inscribe the right to abortion in the constitution serves to protect the law that first legalised abortion in the country in 1975. This law—the so-called Veil law—was championed by Simone Veil, one of France’s most admired and respected political figures, and an icon of the women’s-rights movement.

In 1974, Veil, a magistrate who had been asked by the French president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, to serve as health minister in his government, delivered a momentous speech. She presented the public-health case for the decriminalisation of abortion to the National Assembly, which at the time was composed almost entirely of men.

Continued: https://www.socialeurope.eu/abortion-rights-at-issue-in-european-elections


In France, abortion rights and hijab bans highlight a double standard on women’s rights

March 14, 2024
Roshan Arah Jahangeer

The French parliament recently voted in favour of enshrining the right to abortion into the country’s constitution. While crowds celebrated outside, the slogan “my body my choice” was projected onto the Eiffel Tower in giant letters.

Although concerns about barriers and access still remain, women in France are now guaranteed the right to an abortion up to 14 weeks into their pregnancy, mirroring Spain but still well behind Sweden’s 18 weeks and the 24 weeks allowed in The Netherlands.

Continued: https://theconversation.com/in-france-abortion-rights-and-hijab-bans-highlight-a-double-standard-on-womens-rights-225418


Abortion rights are featuring in this year’s European election campaign in a way we’ve not seen before

March 13, 2024
Magdalena Frennhoff Larsén

The recent landmark decision in France to inscribe the right to abortion in the constitution serves to protect the law that first legalised abortion in the country in 1975. This law – the so-called Veil law – was championed by Simone Veil, one of France’s most admired and respected political figures, and an icon of the women’s rights movement.

In 1974, Veil, a magistrate who had been asked by French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to serve as health minister in his government, delivered a momentous speech. She presented the public health case for the decriminalisation of abortion to the National Assembly, which at the time was composed almost entirely of men.

Continued: https://theconversation.com/abortion-rights-are-featuring-in-this-years-european-election-campaign-in-a-way-weve-not-seen-before-225714


Europe’s liberals, Greens say abortion must be a right in EU charter

10 Mar, 2024

Senior figures from the Green and liberal factions in the European Parliament have spoken in favour of including the right to abortion in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, echoing a call by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Green parliamentary group leader Terry Reintke and Valérie Hayer, who is the leader of the liberal Renew group, spoke to Germany’s RND media group for an interview published on Sunday. “The right to safe abortion belongs in the EU Charter as a fundamental right,” said Reintke, a German politician who has served as a member of the European Parliament since 2014.

Continued; https://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/3254849/europes-liberals-greens-say-abortion-must-be-right-eu-charter


Why changing the constitution doesn’t guarantee access to abortion in France

As commentators hail France's decision to protect abortion rights within its constitution as a legal milestone, healthcare workers warn that having the right to an abortion and having access to one remain two different things.

March 9, 2024
Jessica Phelan with RFI

"Enshrining this right in the constitution makes it practically untouchable," declared long-time women's rights activist and former leftwing MP Danielle Bousquet, speaking to RFI on the day that both houses of the French parliament approved the move.

Article 34 of the charter now states: "The law determines the conditions by which the freedom of women to have recourse to an abortion, which is guaranteed, is exercised."

Continued: https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20240309-why-changing-the-constitution-doesn-t-guarantee-access-to-abortion-in-france


Yugoslavia Pioneered Abortion Rights in Constitution Long Before France

The inclusion of women’s right to abortion in France’s constitution is significant and welcome – but it’s not quite the ‘pioneering’ move it’s being called.

Tanja Ignjatovic, Belgrade BIRN
March 8, 2024

The recent decision of the French parliament to include the right to abortion in the constitution has been met with emotion by women and feminist activists. Although France legalised abortion back in 1975, it was believed that a constitutional provision would make this right irreversible. It was even called a “revolutionary move”, with France being hailed as the “first country in the world to enshrine the right to abortion in its constitution”, thus becoming a “pioneer in guaranteeing freedoms related to abortion”.

In the current era, the decision of the French parliament is undoubtedly significant. It is mentioned that it is a reaction to the 2022 decision of the United States Supreme Court, which overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling, which had guaranteed the right to abortion for all women up to the 24th week of pregnancy since 1973. Following this, several federal states either banned or significantly restricted access to abortion. This served as a reminder to us all that, once achieved, women’s rights (in any area) are not inviolable and irreversible.

Continued: https://balkaninsight.com/2024/03/08/yugoslavia-pioneered-abortion-rights-in-constitution-long-before-france/


France enshrines abortion as a constitutional right as the world marks International Women’s Day

France has inscribed the guaranteed right to abortion in its constitution, a powerful message of support for women’s rights on International Women’s Day

By ANGELA CHARLTON and JADE LE DELEY, Associated Press
March 8, 2024

PARIS -- France inscribed the guaranteed right to abortion in its constitution Friday, in a world first and a powerful message of support to women around the globe on International Women’s Day.

A woman from Argentina, a couple from Miami and a man from Czechia were among those gathered on the polished cobblestones of Place Vendome in Paris to watch the historic event unfurl in an outdoor ceremony open the public. Women in the crowd recalled their own abortions, or lifelong battles for reproductive rights.

Continued:  https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/france-seal-abortion-constitution-world-marks-international-womens-107914918


The moment that electrified France – and could push forward abortion rights around the world

Some had grumbled it was mere politicking from Macron, yet enshrining the right to abortion felt like a rare moment of unity

Agnès Poirier
Wed 6 Mar 2024

There was little doubt that the French parliament would reach a majority on Monday, when it gathered in a special session to enshrine the right to abortion into its constitution. But even so, it was an electric moment. At the Palace of Versailles, big enough to host the 925 MPs and senators eligible to vote, the scene was set to the solemn drumming of the republican guard.

Broadcast live on every news channel and beamed on to a giant screen at the Paris Trocadéro, opposite the Eiffel Tower, French citizens watched as the national assembly’s first female president, Yaël Braun-Pivet, looking calm and focused, walked towards the packed chamber to declare the hearing open. Passing republican guards in full regalia, sabres drawn, forming a guard of honour, there was total silence as she made her entrance to make history, as France became the world’s first country to guarantee women’s rights to abortion.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2024/mar/06/france-abortion-rights-emmanuel-macron


France Protects Abortion as a ‘Guaranteed Freedom’ in Constitution

Other Governments Should Follow Suit, Improve Protections for Reproductive Freedom

Hillary Margolis, Human Rights Watch

March 5, 2024

Yesterday at a special congress in Versailles, France’s parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to add the freedom to have an abortion to the country’s constitution. Though abortion has been legal in France since 1975, the historic move aims to establish a safeguard in the face of global attacks on abortion access and sexual and reproductive health rights: President Emmanuel Macron initiated it after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had constitutionalized the freedom to have an abortion as part of the right to privacy.

The vote, a global first in introducing explicit abortion protections in a national constitution, is a win for civil society organizations that have pushed for reproductive justice. This is an important move to uphold the right to autonomy, ensuring people can make informed decisions about their own lives, bodies, health, and wellbeing. That includes choices about sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion.

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2024/03/05/france-protects-abortion-guaranteed-freedom-constitution