MPs want abortion rights inscribed into constitution

“What happened elsewhere must not happen in France,” a French lawmaker says

Reacting to the US Supreme Court’s decision to roll back the constitutional protection for abortion, a group of French MPs from President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party moved to inscribe the right to abortion into the constitution.

On Friday, the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, returning the responsibility to decide on abortion rights to the individual states. The ruling, which is expected to lead to restrictions in around half of the country, became a shock for many not only in America, but also abroad.

“What happened elsewhere must not happen in France,” Marie-Pierre Rixain, a lawmaker for the Renaissance party, said.

Amending the French Constitution will allow abortion rights to be cemented for future generations, Rixain told AP.

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According to the statement by the Renaissance lawmakers, the bill they are proposing would make it “impossible to deprive a person of the right to voluntarily terminate a pregnancy.”

The US Supreme Court’s decision is “catastrophic for women around the world,” Aurore Berge, who leads Macron’s party group in the parliament, told France Inter radio.

“Women’s rights are still rights that are fragile and are regularly called into question,” she said.

Abortion rights in France are guaranteed by legislation from 1975, but, according to Berge, they require even stronger protections. “We don’t change the constitution like we change the law.”

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Macron’s Ensemble! (Together) coalition, which includes the Renaissance party, lost its absolute majority in parliament after the election a week ago, with right-wing and leftist parties now expected to complicate the implementation of Macron’s domestic policies.

“The new MPs… especially from the National Rally [of Marine Le Pen] are fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion and I think that we shouldn’t take any chances in this matter,” Berge said.

The French government will “strongly support this bill,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne tweeted. “For all women, for human rights, we must set this achievement in stone,” she said.

Macron also considers abortion to be “a fundamental right for all women” that must be protected, as he tweeted in response to the US Supreme Court ruling.

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