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French government supports enshrining abortion in constitution


Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said the government would support the pro-abortion bill ‘wholeheartedly’

Politicians representing a parliamentary majority on Saturday voiced support for a bill enshrining abortion rights in France’s constitution, after the US Supreme Court revoked the nationwide legal protection for American women to terminate pregnancies.

The landmark ruling by the conservative-majority court on Friday overturned almost five decades of constitutional protections for abortion in the United States, allowing individual states to regulate the procedure.

France was one of several US allies to condemn the decision, with President Emmanuel Macron denouncing a threat to women’s freedom.

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“Women’s rights are always fragile rights that are regularly threatened,” Aurore Berge told the France Inter radio station.

“For all women, for human rights, we must set this gain in stone. Parliament must be able to unite overwhelmingly over this text,” she wrote on Twitter.

The left-wing NUPES alliance and Macron’s Ensemble coalition would together command a large majority in favour of such a constitutional change.

The National Rally has long been opposed to abortion, but current leader Marine Le Pen has since presented herself as a defender of women’s rights and backed the status quo.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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