France Becomes the First Country to Abortion a Constitutional Right

( – France has become the first country in the world to make access to abortion a constitutional right.

Legislators from both houses of Parliament of the European country voted overwhelmingly in favor of the measure, 780 to 72, to change the French constitution to reflect the amendment. Amendments to the French constitution require a three-fifths majority in order to pass. The amendment is the 25th time France has changed parts of its constitution since the founding of the Fifth Republic in 1958.

The amendment grants a “guaranteed freedom” to abortion in the country. The movement towards enacting the constitutional amendment was ostensibly created in response to the overturning of Roe vs. Wade in the U.S. as well as the trend towards more conservative legislation in other parts of the continent where right-wing populists have risen to hold significant positions in government.

After the French parliament passed the amendment, the Eifel Tower in Paris was lit up with the hashtag “my body my choice” in French.

That sentiment was exactly the argument in favor of the amendment, with Gabriel Attal, the French Prime Minister, saying that legislators had a “moral debt” to women who had to undergo illegal abortions in the past. He added that the French government needed to send a clear message to women that their bodies belong to them, and them alone.

Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, announced that the country would hold a celebration for the passage of the amendment, which would coincide with International Women’s Day.

While the right to abortion has always been a hot topic in the U.S., the French have always generally been supportive of it. France legalized abortion in 1975. The only major opponent of the new amendment was the Roman Catholic Church, with a conference of French bishops stressing the church’s opposition to abortion.

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