France plans to constitutionalize abortion in reaction to the weakening of rights in the United States.

Movie DetailerWorld France plans to constitutionalize abortion in reaction to the weakening of rights in the United States.
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France’s Senate has passed a bill on Wednesday to include the right to abortion in the Constitution, overcoming a significant obstacle for a law pledged by President Emmanuel Macron in reaction to the curtailment of abortion rights in the United States. Wednesday’s decision follows the National Assembly’s overwhelming approval of the proposal in January. The measure will now be presented to a joint session of Parliament for anticipated approval by a three-fifths majority next week. Macron’s administration is pushing for an amendment to Article 34 of the constitution, specifying that “the law establishes the conditions under which women’s freedom to seek abortion, a guaranteed right, is exercised.” The bill was approved in the Senate with 267 votes in favor and 50 against. French Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti described the vote as “historic,” stating that “the Senate has turned a new page in women’s rights.” None of the major political parties in the French Parliament have contested the right to abortion, which was decriminalized in 1975. Meanwhile, in Canada, abortion has been legal since 1988, when the Supreme Court ruled in R. v. Morgentaler that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional. Despite the absence of laws prohibiting abortion, it is not constitutionally protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is regulated as a medical procedure. According to Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, enacting an abortion law in Canada could open the door to new restrictions, with anti-choice politicians seeking to place limits on abortion for reasons unrelated to science or medical necessity. In 2022, when news of the leaked decision overturning Roe v. Wade in the U.S. surfaced, Canadian reporters questioned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the possibility of legislation to officially establish the right to abortion. Trudeau left the door open to such legislation, emphasizing the importance of preventing a rollback of rights observed in the U.S. He reiterated during International Safe Abortion Day that abortions are both “safe and legal” and emphasized that women’s right to choose will not be subject to debate under his leadership. With both houses of Parliament in France passing the bill, the joint session scheduled for Monday at the Palace of Versailles is expected to be mostly ceremonial. The introduction to the bill by the government highlighted the threat to the right to abortion in the United States following the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn a longstanding guarantee. The introduction to the French legislation acknowledged that similar challenges to women’s freedom to terminate pregnancy are present in several countries, including in Europe. In Poland, a controversial revision of an already restrictive abortion law triggered protests last year after the constitutional court’s ruling barred pregnancies termination in cases of severe fetal deformities such as Down syndrome. Sen. Melanie Vogel noted that France will be the first European country to codify abortion in its legislation.

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