France is the First Country to Incorporate Abortion Rights in its Constitution

France is the First Country to Incorporate Abortion Rights in its Constitution

This week, the French Parliament approved a historic measure, marking a significant milestone in the country’s journey towards gender equality and reproductive rights. On Monday, it was confirmed that “access to abortion” would be included in the French Constitution, a move that has been hailed as a momentous and progressive stride.

The road to this decision has been marked by a series of approvals. The French Senate had given its nod to the measure the previous week, and prior to that, the National Assembly had also approved it in January. The final step in the process was to secure approval from at least three-fifths of the votes in a joint session of Parliament. On Monday, the measure received a resounding endorsement, with 780 votes in favor as opposed to 72 votes against.

With the passage of this measure, France has distinguished itself as the first country in the world to enshrine “access to abortion” in its Magna Carta. The move came as a result of the Macron government’s proposal to amend Article 34 of the French Constitution. The altered article explicitly mentions “the freedom of women to resort to abortion, which is guaranteed”.

The push for this measure was championed by the French President in the aftermath of the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned the landmark Roe vs. Wade case law of 1973. The ruling established that American states could legislate on abortion as per their discretion. It is worth noting that in France, abortion is legal up to 14 weeks post conception.

The decision has not been without its critics. On the day of the vote, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life expressed its opposition to the move. It argued that “it cannot be a right” to terminate a human life, responding to the vote in France to include abortion in the Constitution.

The academy went on to assert that in an era characterized by universal human rights, there could not be a ‘right’ to suppress a human life. The statement addressed governments worldwide and all religions, urging that the protection of life should be an absolute priority.

It also called for concrete steps towards peace and social justice, advocating for measures that ensure universal access to resources, education, and health. The academy emphasized that the challenges and complexities of our time should be met with the instruments of a legal civilization that prioritizes the protection of the weakest and most vulnerable.

The text underscored that the protection of human life is the first objective of humanity and that it can only flourish in a world devoid of conflicts and wounds, where science, technology, and industry serve the individual and foster fraternity.

The Pontifical Academy also quoted a speech by Pope Francis, stating: “For the Catholic Church, the defense of life is not an ideology, but a reality, a human reality that involves all Christians, precisely because they are Christians and human.” (With EFE Agency)

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