We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Interior of the French Senate, which has already approved the bill. Alamy Stock Photo
Roe Vs Wade

French politicians vote overwhelmingly for bill enshrining abortion as a constitutional right

The bill was approved in an overwhelming 780-72 vote, and nearly the entire joint session rose for an extended ovation.


FRENCH POLITICIANS HAVE approved a bill that will enshrine a woman’s right to an abortion in the constitution during a joint session of parliament at the Palace of Versailles.

The bill was approved in an overwhelming 780-72 vote, and nearly the entire joint session rose for an extended ovation.

The vote makes France the first country to have a constitutional right to abortion since the former Yugoslavia inscribed it in its 1974 constitution.

Serbia’s 2006 constitution carries on that spirit, stating that “everyone has the right to decide on childbirth”.

There were jubilant scenes of celebration all over France as women’s rights activists hailed the measure promised by President Emmanuel Macron following a rollback of abortion rights in court rulings in the United States.

Sarah Durocher, a leader in the Family Planning movement, said Monday’s vote is “a victory for feminists and a defeat for the anti-choice activists”.

With the right to an abortion added to the constitution, it will be much harder to prevent women from voluntarily terminating a pregnancy in France, women’s rights and equality activists said.

“We increased the level of protection to this fundamental right,” said Anne-Cecile Mailfert, of the Women’s Foundation. “It’s a guarantee for women today and in the future to have the right to abort in France.”

Both houses of parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate, have already adopted a bill to amend Article 34 of the French constitution to specify a woman’s right to an abortion is guaranteed.

The lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, had already overwhelmingly approved the proposal in January.

The Senate then adopted the bill on Wednesday, clearing a key hurdle for legislation promised by Macron’s government, intended to make “a woman’s right to have an abortion irreversible”.

None of France’s major political parties represented in parliament had questioned the right to abortion, which was decriminalised in 1975.

The government argued in its introduction to the bill that the right to abortion is threatened in the United States, where the Supreme Court in 2022 overturned a 50-year-old ruling that used to guarantee it.

“Unfortunately, this event is not isolated: in many countries, even in Europe, there are currents of opinion that seek to hinder at any cost the freedom of women to terminate their pregnancy if they wish,” the introduction to the French legislation says.

Press Association 

Press Association