The bill to register abortion in the French Constitution is to be tabled tomorrow during a cabinet meeting. Whereas the availability of abortion is in no way threatened, its registration in the French Constitution is totally disconnected from the reality on the ground. The present social urgencies are quite different.
In 2022 the rate of abortions reached its highest level in France since 1990.
The claimed “irreversible freedom” is a delusion. It does not address the true needs of many women who seek protection from the social and economic pressures which push them towards abortion. How can one be satisfied by the fact that women on the lowest incomes more frequently resort to abortion than those who are wealthier (studies by Drees – Direction de la Recherche, des Etudes, de l’Evaluation et des Statistiques – Directorate for Research, Studies, Evaluations and Statistics)? How can one ignore the fact that they may also be subjected to violence?
For 40 % of the 201,000 women affected each year by domestic violence, it began during their first pregnancy. At the same time, procreative standards are tending to rigidify at the cost of women’s freedom: they should not be too young, nor too old, be in a stable relationship with a stable job, adequate income, etc.
It is not so much abortion which is under threat today in France but rather the possibility for those women who so choose to complete their pregnancy. For that, it is essential that they be provided with comprehensive and balanced information, which is not currently the case.
The consecration of a “freedom to resort to abortion” in the French Constitution additionally risks to further undermine the fundamental principles such as the freedom of conscience, and in particular the conscience clause of health workers and the freedom of expression which is already under threat on the subject.
“Let us not be naive: this highly symbolic bill is in no way the result of a request by French women, nor is it in any way in line with their needs; it is a blatant political gesticulation beyond their concerns. We deserve better than to be treated as adjustment variables for partisan posturing. Alliance VITA has for many years been calling for a study on the causes, the conditions and the consequences of abortion. That should be the priority for our politicians. The urgency is for prevention not for adding abortion rights to the constitution.” According to Caroline Roux, the Deputy General Manager of Alliance VITA.