Abortion in the Constitution: What Guarantees Against an Enforceable Right?


Abortion in the Constitution : What guarantees against an enforceable right ?

PRESS RELEASE – 30th January 2024

The French National Assembly has adopted the bill for constitutional reform which aims to register the “guaranteed freedom” for women to resort to abortion. Alliance VITA denounces such an abuse of the constitution to introduce an enforceable right to abortion and deplores an approach which blatantly ignores the difficulties which push women to resort to abortion.

The Justice Minister may well have claimed otherwise when the text was examined during the parliamentary debate, there is nevertheless a severe risk of breakdown of the legal framework in the future. The successive revisions to the 1975 law decriminalising abortion have gradually deleted the benefits, the information, the support, the distress criterion, in other words, the measures intended to protect women from external pressures and the precipitation towards an irreversible act is far from trivial.

Worse still, no evaluation has been made of the impact of these legal provisions on the lives of women despite the fact that economic conditions have worsened over the last few years. The escalation has intensified to such an extent as the years have gone by that it is no longer possible to count on the promises made by the government facing partisans who advocate a right to abortion “without constraints” as is being claimed by the Family Planning president.

How can one believe in good faith that, once abortion is registered in the French Constitution, the freedoms which are guaranteed in law such as the conscientious objection clause specific to health workers, will not be deleted as was attempted in 2022 by the law extending the abortion qualification period?

How can one guarantee that abortions will never be approved with no qualification period or according to the sex of the foetus?

According to Alliance VITA which has been providing support for over 20 years to women experiencing difficulties, the inclusion of abortion in the Constitution is not only unjustified and dangerous but is also totally disconnected from the social urgency.

This bill to register in the constitution the guaranteed freedom to resort to abortion gives a miss to a true preventive policy. Remember that Simone Veil herself, presented her bill in 1975 as follows: “if the bill […] admits the possibility of an abortion, the intention is to control it, and as far as possible, to dissuade women.” Even today, 73% of the French population believe that “society should provide greater support to women to avoid resorting to abortion” (IFOP opinion poll in 2020).

Alliance VITA calls on the government to face up to the reality of abortion by evaluating its causes and its consequences and by establishing a true preventive policy.

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