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The Steps to Constitutional Change

How It Happened

France has done something no other country has before: it’s made the right to an abortion part of its constitution. This is a big deal, especially after the US Supreme Court decided to end Roe v. Wade, a decision that protected abortion rights in the US. France’s Parliament, with a vote of 780 to 72, agreed to this change. This vote needed at least three-fifths of the Parliament to agree, and it happened in a special meeting at the Palace of Versailles, finishing up a process that both the French Senate and National Assembly were already on board with.

group of young people march in protest to affirm the right to abortion

What the Amendment Says

The amendment makes sure people have the “freedom” to choose an abortion. Some people wanted it to specifically say “right,” but this is still a big step. It shows France is serious about supporting reproductive rights when those rights are being challenged in other parts of the world.

France’s Stand on Reproductive Rights

Celebrating the Change

After the law passed, there was a big celebration in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower lighting up with the words “my body my choice,” to show France’s dedication to letting people make their own choices about their bodies. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal talked about how important this is, especially thinking back on women who had to have abortions when it was illegal. He said, “your body belongs to you,” making clear the message behind this move.

Support from the Government and People

The French government, led by President Emmanuel Macron, is planning a special ceremony on International Women’s Rights Day to celebrate this amendment. This shows how much support there is in France for abortion rights, a big win for those who’ve been fighting for this protection.

Looking Back and Ahead

Abortion in France’s History

France first made abortion legal in 1975, thanks to Simone Veil, who was the Health Minister back then. Unlike in the US, where abortion is a hot topic that divides people, in France, people from all sorts of political backgrounds support reproductive rights. This broad support helped make the amendment a reality, with the main disagreement being whether or not this amendment was necessary, rather than whether abortion should be allowed.

A Response to What’s Happening in the US

France’s decision to add abortion rights to its constitution was partly because of what’s happening in the US, showing France wants to make sure these rights are protected no matter what.

The Other Side and the Bigger Picture

Opposition from the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church, including the Vatican and French bishops, is against this amendment, showing that the debate over reproductive rights isn’t over. But, France’s move is a big step forward in that conversation.

"Abortion is health care" protest sign at rally.

FAQs

Q1: What does France’s constitutional amendment say about abortion?

A1: It guarantees the “freedom” to have an abortion, emphasizing the importance of having control over one’s own body.

Q2: How did people in France react to this change?

A2: There was a lot of positive reaction, including celebrations and the Eiffel Tower displaying a supportive message.

Q3: Why did France decide to make this change now?

A3: The decision was largely influenced by the US Supreme Court’s action against Roe v. Wade, showing France’s commitment to protecting fundamental rights.

This summary explains how France became the first nation to include abortion rights in its constitution, highlighting its commitment to reproductive freedom amid global challenges.

Sources CNN

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