• Press Release

France: Senate Vote on Recognizing Abortion in the Constitution Will Be “Decisive Step”

February 28, 2024

(Amnesty International)
Enshrining abortion in the French Constitution would be a decisive step towards protecting a fundamental right, said Amnesty International France (AIF) and Planning Familial ahead of today’s vote in the Senate which will proceed a final vote in Congress scheduled for early March 2024.

“On February 28, feminists in France and around the world will be looking to the Senate. We have a unique opportunity to enshrine abortion in the French Constitution and thus guarantee this right for all. It’s a strong message to feminists around the world who are fighting for this right and with whom we stand in solidarity,” said Sarah Durocher, President of Planning Familial.

“This is an historic opportunity for France to stand up for women, girls and people who may be pregnant, and a source of hope for those who are defending the right to abortion around the world. This right is still hindered or even banned in many countries, including in the European Union, and those who defend it are stigmatized and harassed,” said Lola Schulmann, Advocacy Officer for Women’s Rights and Gender Minorities at Amnesty International France.

While enshrining the right to abortion in the Constitution would represent a major step forward for women’s sexual and reproductive rights, the wording approved by the French MPs of “guaranteeing the freedom” to access an abortion is not binding. In contrast, by explicitly enshrining “the right” to abortion, the State would be obliged to implement the necessary measures to guarantee it. We also favor an inclusive approach for all people who can become pregnant, to ensure that the right to abortion is guaranteed not only for women but also for trans men and non-binary people.

Additional Information

In France, 49 years on from the enactment of the Veil law decriminalizing abortion, on January 30, 2024 the National Assembly adopted, by a large majority, the government’s draft constitutional reform aimed at enshrining the “guaranteed freedom” for a woman to have an abortion in the Constitution. The adoption of this text by Deputies was only the first step. This Wednesday, February 28, 2024, the text will take another decisive step forward. If this draft constitutional amendment is adopted in the final vote in Congress, scheduled for early March, France will become the first country in the world to enshrine this right in stone.

Têtu has published an article by Sébastien Tüller, head of Amnesty International France’s LGBTI+ Committee, calling for the wording of the constitutional provision on abortion to be reviewed to ensure that the right to abortion is guaranteed not only to women but also to trans men and non-binary people.

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