Home Politics Constitutionalizing the Right to Abortion: The Marathon Can Begin

Constitutionalizing the Right to Abortion: The Marathon Can Begin

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Forty-eight years after the hijab law, on Thursday, November 24, cyclists experienced a moment of enthusiasm and near-unanimity. Across partisan divisions, and without always sharing the same vision of society, 337 MPs voted to support the right to abortion and engrave it into the Constitution (32 in favour, 18 abstentions). From the left to the Renaissance, from the rebels to the horizons through the centrists, these elected officials have come together to adopt the bill put forward by Mathilde Baneau during the parliamentary standing of the group La France insoumise (LFI).

Why the inclusion of abortion in the Constitution is a “groundbreaking gesture”

Far from pulling the blanket over her, the LFI Vice Leader was quite happy about it “France speaks to the world” and dedicated “This Triumph of American, Polish and Hungarian Women”, In those countries where the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) is diminishing or even disappearing.

sequel after announcement

Without regret, Aurore Bergé, who was the first to write a motion in favor of the legalization of abortion for the presidential Ennahda party, withdrew her text, which was to be studied from Monday. “It is not a question of political gain in such an issue, but rather of our convictions,” Confirmed the head of the macaron group, who hastily came to participate in this solemn vote (when she had just given birth to a baby).

Throughout the morning, the counter-attack from the Republican (LR) and National (RN) caucus representatives was fierce. But they ended up being cornered by cross-party action led by centrist Erwan Balanant during their lunch break. From the rain of anti-constitutional amendments that fell in the morning until the vote took place, there was nothing left to resume in the afternoon.

In the National Assembly, on November 24, 2022, after the adoption of a bill in favor of including the right to abortion in the Constitution. (GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)

and now? From this first step until the start of the constitutional review, the road will be very long and full of uncertainties. The future scenario of the constitutionalization of abortion will have many episodes. And it will be necessary for proponents of women’s liberty to shed their bodies (in relation to the 14 weeks allowed to practice abortion) to demonstrate the qualities of resistance worthy of marathon runners but also of explosive ones like sprinters.

Episode 1: Meeting in the Senate

To initiate a constitutional review procedure, the text must first be voted on on identical terms by the Assembly and the Senate. This procedure is specified in Article 89 of the Constitution.

sequel after announcement

However, the oath is the majority in the upper house of Parliament. And malfeasance: On October 19, she challenged a motion by environmental senator Melanie Fogle that sought to legalize abortion. Its president, Gérard Larcher, repeats over and over again: “Let us touch the constitution with only a trembling hand.”

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In the face of this apparent hostility, SEALs keeper Eric Dupond Moretti showed himself ” optimistic “ In front of the House of Representatives this Thursday. On the government bench, this die-hard supporter of constitutional revision pointed out that the refusal at the Luxembourg Palace had only been made. “17 sounds close” On Vogel’s suggestion. A way of telling senators in favor of women’s rights that they now have to work hard to win over reluctant elected members of the Senate to the cause.

Episode 2: Shuttles, Bugs, and Revive

Can the Senate move on from first reading of Bannott’s bill? It is doubtful that Whig elected officials of all stripes will, for their part, ensure that there is no defection in their majority in the Senate. The weight of opinion will be decisive. LFI has already reported on a survey it conducted 83% of French people support the constitutionalization of abortion. Senators could be sensitive about it if public opinion agreed with their denial of even the right to abortion.

So let’s take the hypothesis that after shuttles, possible errors and riffs in the session, the two chambers end up agreeing on an identical script, to continue scenario detection.

sequel after announcement

“No one can say that France will be safe”: the right to abortion was invited into the French debate

The third episode: Avoid the referendum ?

When the process initiated by Parliament – and not by the government – has reached its goal, it must be translated into a proposal for a constitutional decision to be submitted by plebiscite to the vote of the French people. The referendum is dangerous. For LFI and Ennahda MPs, it would risk seeing right-wing voters and activists, Catholics at the fore, mobilizing in droves.

to avoid a remake Anti-Bak protests in 1999, the government can address this issue through a bill in favor of the constitution. By taking the initiative, Emmanuel Macron and Elizabeth Bourne can choose the path of the referendum or the approval of the parliament meeting in Congress. It is this last possibility that currently has the support of the parliamentarians, Matignon and Elysée.

Final Episode: Congressional Vote

However, according to the constitution, which details review procedures, the initiative rests with the president and he alone at the suggestion of his prime minister. If he rejects the idea of ​​a referendum, Emmanuel Macron can decide to present the project to the two assemblies meeting in Versailles. Hence a three-fifths majority of parliamentarians is required to protect the right to abortion under the Constitution. We can see it: the challenge of constitutionalizing the right to abortion is a marathon that is just beginning.

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