The National Assembly votes to include the right to abortion in the Constitution


The National Assembly voted Thursday in favor of including the right to abortion in the Constitution on a proposal by LFI deputies.

A standing ovation from a large part of the hemicycle welcomed this adoption by 337 votes to 32, after a tense debate with the right and the far right who had tabled hundreds of amendments.

However, there is still a long way to go for this inclusion of the right to abortion in the highest norm of the legal order to be effective, particularly given the essential endorsement of the Senate.

Mathilde Panot carried this text at the top of the agenda of a day reserved for proposals from her group.

Among the texts they defended, the deputies La France insoumise decided to withdraw at the last moment their flammable proposal for a total ban on bullfighting, which had been the subject, like that on abortion, of hundreds of amendments.

This withdrawal made it possible to begin examining their request to reinstate staff who had not been vaccinated against Covid-19 in health establishments, to make up for staffing shortages.

With the support of LR deputies and the RN group, the proposal seemed likely to be adopted. But with the suspension of sessions and amendments, the presidential camp compromised the holding of the vote, triggering the anger of the opposition and elected officials from overseas who felt "despised".

Fight not over

However, elected officials from the LFI and the presidential camp had previously succeeded in finding rare common ground on abortion, in order to "prevent a regression" for women, as recently in the United States or sometimes in Europe, has pleaded Ms. Panot.

The text adopted Thursday, the result of a transpartisan rewrite, is in one sentence:

“The law guarantees the effectiveness and equal access to the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy”.

The alterations made during the debates are intended to respond to the reluctance of certain deputies, linked to the disputed mention of the right to contraception in a first version, and to a wording which raised fears of the introduction of a right to abortion "without limit ".

“We honor parliamentary work with this vote”, underlined MoDem MP Erwan Balanant, one of the architects of this “overcoming of divisions”. "But the fight is not over," he added, referring to the green light to be obtained in the Senate, far from certain after a negative vote in October.

Aurore Bergé, leader of the Renaissance deputies, has decided to withdraw her own text on the subject. A "very great gesture", greeted the Keeper of the Seals Eric Dupond-Moretti, who said his "emotion" after the vote.

In front of the deputies, Ms. Bergé gave a testimony, saying that her mother had had an abortion which "did not go very well", "at a time when it was illegal in our country".


Despite this success in the Assembly, Ms. Panot, like many deputies, urged the government to present its own bill to constitutionalize abortion.

A text coming from the government should also obtain the approval of the Senate but, unlike a proposal for a parliamentary initiative, it would not need to be submitted to a referendum at the end of the race. A test feared by some because it could mobilize anti-abortion networks.

The debates lasted for long hours, while within the LR group, the members of the Parliamentary Entente for the Family rose to the front, in favor of a "balance" between "women's freedom" and "protection of life to be born ".

The RN group, whose members have taken positions hostile to abortion, defended comparable arguments. "Not a single representative political movement" is against abortion, but this right is not "unconditional", had argued Marine Le Pen, absent at the time of the vote, in reference to the deadlines for abortion and to the conscience clause of doctors.

"Pretexts" for "not to say that you are against abortion", launched Ms. Panot at them, who denounced, like Mr. Dupond-Moretti, the "parliamentary obstruction" of the right and the far right. with their hundreds of amendments.

LR and RN finally split between for, against and abstention.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock/ UlyssePixel

Recent articles >

Summary of news for September 22, 2023

outlined-grey clock icon

Recent news >