An image capturing the moment Congresswoman Isabelle Santiago casts her vote during a historic session at Versailles. This vote contributes to France becoming the first country to constitutionally safeguard abortion rights.

France, a Beacon of Women’s Rights: Constitution Now Guarantees Abortion Freedom

In an unprecedented move, France has become the first country worldwide to constitutionally guarantee a woman’s freedom to opt for voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG). This monumental achievement was met with widespread approval from the French Parliament, triggering a lengthy standing ovation at the historic Congress at Château de Versailles.

The echoes of applause reverberated around the grand hemicycle as lawmakers concluded the examination of this transformative constitutional amendment, marking the end of a long-standing political and feminist campaign.

With 780 parliamentarians voting in favor versus only 72 against, the required three-fifths majority to amend the supreme text was comfortably attained. The seal of Congress was subsequently affixed to the document in a nearby room.

The inclusion of the phrase “The law stipulates the conditions under which a woman’s assured freedom to undergo a voluntary termination of pregnancy is exercised” into Article 34 of the Constitution cements France’s position as a global trailblazer. This move stands in stark contrast to numerous countries where abortion rights are being eroded, most notably in the United States and Eastern Europe.

Emmanuel Macron, the French President, described the development as “French pride, universal message,” extending an invitation to the public to join a sealing ceremony of the Constitution on International Women’s Rights Day, March 8.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal praised the decision as “a stride that will be etched in history,” highlighting the ongoing threats to the right to abort. He reiterated, “France remains loyal to its legacy (…) the birthplace of human rights, and notably women’s rights.”

The announcement of the vote results by Yaël Braun-Pivet, the first woman to chair the National Assembly, sparked jubilation both in the hemicycle and at Place du Trocadéro in Paris. Hundreds of people gathered to watch the debates on a giant screen, under the shimmering lights of the Eiffel Tower, as several deputies and guests sang the women’s anthem.

The Vatican, recognizing the global repercussions of this vote, issued a strong response, asserting that there “can be no +right+ to terminate human life.”

Emotions ran high at the Château de Versailles, with numerous parliamentarians expressing their joy on this momentous occasion, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Veil law that decriminalized abortion in France in 1974.

Aurore Bergé, the Minister Delegate for Equality between Women and Men, arrived arm in arm with her mother, who had once undergone an illegal abortion.

While the left side of the house arranged for only female speakers to deliver speeches at Congress, the Renaissance and Les Républicains groups selected four men to outline their groups’ positions.

President Macron had pledged this reform as one of the key promises of his societal policy in recent months, embracing various parliamentary initiatives from the left, supported by the majority.

The inclusion of “guaranteed freedom” to IVG marks the culmination of lengthy debates in Parliament and particularly in the Senate, where President Gérard Larcher and a section of the right were initially reticent.

This landmark decision signifies a major advancement in the global fight for women’s rights, setting a precedent for other nations to follow.

#France, #AbortionRights, #ConstitutionalAmendment, #WomensRights, #IVG, #HistoricMoment, #GlobalImpact

Sources: The Guardian France24 Reuters CNN AP News PBS

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