The very conservative Supreme Court on Friday buried a judgment which, for nearly half a century, guaranteed the right of American women to abortion but had never been accepted by the religious right.
In the process, several American states have already announced that they are taking measures to prohibit voluntary terminations of pregnancy on their territory.
The decision was widely condemned in France, from left to right. Emmanuel Macron regretted the “questioning” of women’s freedoms. And the associations for the defense of the right to abortion have worried about a “dangerous signal”.
“It’s catastrophic for women in the world: you have a woman who dies every nine minutes because an abortion has been badly performed, in an unsafe way”, underlined on France Inter Saturday the new president of the LREM group. in the Assembly, Aurore Bergé.
The elected representative of Yvelines, an ex-LR with a feminist commitment, announced that she was filing “a constitutional bill to include respect for abortion in our Constitution”.
– What will the RN do? –
“The government will strongly support this bill,” tweeted the Prime Minister shortly after. “For all women, for human rights, we must engrave this achievement in stone. Parliament must be able to come together very widely around this text”, pleaded Elisabeth Borne, in unison with several ministers.
The legal deadline for an abortion was extended from 12 to 14 weeks at the end of the last legislature.
Should we be worried about abortion in France? “Women’s rights are always rights which are fragile and which are regularly called into question”, according to Aurore Bergé.
Pointing to the new RN deputies, “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion”, she judged that “no risk should be taken in this area and therefore secure” this right.
The FN (now RN) was for a long time radically anti-abortion. In 2011, Marine Le Pen reiterated her wish to de-reimburse abortion, then advocated the status quo on the subject, presenting herself as the first defender of women’s rights.
RN elected officials may not be unanimous on the constitutional proposal.
On Franceinfo on Saturday, Philippe Ballard, spokesperson for the far-right party, stressed that “Marine Le Pen at no time questioned the Veil law” which authorized abortion in France in 1975. Asked about the decision of the American Supreme Court, he replied: “I am a sovereigntist, we are not going to meddle in the affairs of others”.
Aurore Bergé’s bill, sent to AFP, stipulates that “no one can be deprived of the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy”.
– The left reaches out –
Friday evening, the leader of the Insoumis deputies Mathilde Panot had also announced that she would propose to the left alliance Nupes “to file a bill to include the right to abortion in the Constitution”.
“The president of the LREM group takes up this proposal that the LREM parliamentarians had rejected on several occasions in the previous term of office”, noted in a press release the presidents of the left-wing groups, welcoming this “turnaround” and inviting the “deposit of a common text” by all the voluntary groups.
In 2019, left-wing deputies had, on the initiative of the socialist Luc Carvounas, tabled such a constitutional bill, but which had not been placed on the agenda.
In July 2018, opposition deputies had sought by amendment to include the right to contraception and abortion in the preamble to the Constitution, but the majority and the government had come out against it, judging these rights sufficiently guaranteed.
It remains to be seen how the new societal text could progress, while the urgency is for purchasing power measures and Emmanuel Macron, who has lost the absolute majority in the Assembly, is seeking to “build compromises” with his opponents.
A constitutional revision requires the adoption of the same text by the Assembly and the Senate, then a vote by a majority of 3/5ths of the votes cast by Parliament in Congress. The other option is the referendum, but only after the valid vote by the two assemblies.