“No one can be deprived of the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy”: in the midst of a hospital crisis, while maternity closures are feared this summer for lack of caregivers, the bill announced at the beginning of the week by the head of LREM deputies Aurore Bergé is a challenge.
Unsheathed in reaction to the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, which revoked the constitutional character of the right to abortion, the project nevertheless has many supporters. Starting with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who defended “the importance of registering this right as a fundamental right”.
Terms similar to those of the left-wing Nupes coalition, which has tabled its own bill, auguring a possible compromise in the National Assembly.
“We can only defend that”, but “we will be delighted when it will actually be enshrined in the Constitution”, tempers Isabelle Derrendinger, president of the Order of midwives, still scalded by the 16 months of gestation of the Gaillot law , which in February extended the deadline for abortion from 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
– Events on Saturday –
If “sanctuarizing this right” would be “a strong act”, it is also necessary “that the beautiful symbol be concrete for women”, she adds. But “currently the situation is dramatic”, because the lack of midwives leads some maternities to favor deliveries to the detriment of their other activities, including abortions.
According to a survey carried out in recent weeks by the ONSSF union, more than 10% of maternity wards (49 out of 461) have had to resort to “partial closures”.
Pending its constitutionalization, “it is urgent to ensure that abortion can take place in good conditions, here and now”, affirms the collective “Abortion in Europe, women decide”, which calls for demonstrations on Saturday in around thirty cities in France to “guarantee the right” to abortion.
“I have fears for all maternity wards this summer”, confides the president of the National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (CNGOF), Joëlle Belaïsch-Allart, also “very favorable” to the sacralization of abortion, “a first not” even if “means are needed” so that this act is no longer “the poor relation in the services”.
“Politicians would do better to vote for an arrowed budget and to put the means there, one could say that they really take care of it”, adds his colleague Bertrand de Rochambeau, president of Syngof.
– Conscience clause –
If the main union of gynecologists has “decided not to comment” on the bill, its leader nevertheless thinks that this “useless” initiative will not “solve anything”. He deplores “a political display” on a subject which “particularly divides the French”.
In a country where “abortion is still a taboo” and arouses “an important ethical debate”, including among health professionals, gynecologist Danielle Gaudry, a historic figure in Family Planning, is careful not to claim victory.
“Constitutionalisation will be a slow process” and will require “a favorable balance of power in the population and among elected officials”, she underlines. However, the President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, warned on Tuesday against “drive laws”.
With the push from the far right, Ms. Gaudry does not, on the contrary, exclude “amendments which restrict access to abortion” during the new legislature. “You have to be extremely vigilant, especially when it comes to the Social Security budget,” she said, also noting the “conscience clause” of caregivers, which can “create obstacles to rapid access to abortion”.
An exception that the new president of the Order of Physicians, François Arnault, claimed at a press conference on Thursday: “We will defend the conscience clause, as we will defend the right of women to access abortion”.