France pioneers in women’s rights: enshrines abortion in Constitution

France made history by incorporating the right to abortion and women's freedom of choice into its Constitution: it is the first country in the world to do so

With the final vote in Congress, France has achieved a significant milestone in the history of human rights by becoming the first country in the world to enshrine the right to abortion and women’s freedom of choice in its Constitution.

The move was officially sealed on March 4, 2024, following the constitutional bill’s prior approval by the National Assembly and the Senate. The amendment will modify Article 34 of the French Constitution to explicitly state that “the law establishes the conditions under which a woman has the guaranteed freedom to have an abortion.”

The President of the National Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet, announced the voting results, highlighting that out of 902 voters exceptionally gathered in Congress at Versailles, 780 voted in favor, while 72 opposed.

The news has sparked celebrations in the streets, underscoring France’s significant step forward in protecting and affirming women’s rights. Meanwhile, the Eiffel Tower began to sparkle to celebrate the event, with the tower illuminated with the message “Mon corps, mon choix” (“My body, my choice”).

A public sealing ceremony scheduled for March 8

Although the legal right to abortion has existed in France since 1974 through a specific law, incorporating this principle into the Constitution aims to give it a more binding and irreversible nature. It’s estimated that 80% of the French population recognizes abortion as a well-established right.

French Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, emphasized the importance of this decision in a global context where women’s rights are under threat. He stated:

“In a moment when women’s rights are threatened around the world, France stands up and pushes forward progress. We are sending a message to all women: your body belongs to you, and no one can decide for you.”

President Emmanuel Macron has also scheduled a gathering on March 8, International Women’s Day, at Place Vendôme for the first public sealing ceremony in French history.

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