On Tuesday, June 11, the French Senate rejected the amendment, which had originally been voted on June 7th to extend the legal deadline from 12 to 14 weeks for performing abortions.
Tabled by Senator Laurence Rossignol, this amendment was initially adopted a few days earlier, without any preliminary discussion, by a surprise rising vote of 12 senators in favor vs. 10 against.
The chairman of the Social Affairs Committee, and the rapporteur, Republican Senator, Alain Milon, (both opposed to extending the legal time limit) requested a second deliberation. This is allowed under the procedural rulings, but requires the government’s agreement. French health minister Agnès Buzyn supported their request for a second deliberation, declaring: “I conscientiously and dutifully declare that the conditions for adopting the extension of the abortion period were non-satisfactory (…) since this deals with the organization of the health care system (…). This issue cannot be addressed within the scope of this text. The government thinks it is appropriate to hold a second deliberation.”
Alain Milon asserts that “no consultations were held with members of the scientific and medical communities” prior to drafting the bill. He continues: “It is not appropriate, in these conditions and circumstances, at the end of a text treating the organization of our health care system, to decide on the legal time limits for abortion.”
This time, in the presence of a full assembly, the Senate rejected this highly controversial issue, by 205 votes in favor, 102 against and 41 abstentions.