PRESS RELEASE – 16th January 2024
Abortion in the Constitution : An unjustified and dangerous bill
The bill aimed at registering abortion in the French Constitution, to be examined tomorrow by the National Assembly Laws Commission is both unjustified and dangerous. Not only is the addition of abortion rights to the constitution totally unfounded, but it moreover equates to absolving an act which puts lives in danger. The bill overlooks the difficulties endured by many women wishing to sustain their pregnancy to its term.
Registration in the Constitution of the “Freedom of women, which is guaranteed to them”, to resort to abortion, is a threat to the right to live, the safeguard of human dignity, the freedom of conscience for carers, which is regularly questioned, and the freedom of expression on a social and humanitarian question which remains a sensitive taboo.
234,300, is the record number of abortions recorded in 2022 i.e. some 17,000 more than in 2021 (an 8% increase). That figure alone, shows that in France the availability of abortion is not restricted. On the other hand, its registration in the Constitution would further condemn many women to silence: the government cannot ignore the fact that resorting to abortion has become a marker of social inequality, poverty-stricken women are more likely than others to resort to abortion.
Abortion may also sometimes be the expression of violence made against women. For 40% of the 201,000 women concerned each year by violence in the home, the violence began during the first pregnancy. It is not abortion which is under threat in France today but rather the possibility for women who so wish, to complete their pregnancy.
According to Caroline Roux, the Deputy General Manager of Alliance VITA, “This bill is symbolic of the indecent exploitation of abortion. To enshrine abortion in constitution, when its availability is not under threat, is senseless. The social urgencies are quite different. Currently, the urgency is for prevention not to include it in constitution. The social priority should be to provide true alternatives to those women who wish to complete their pregnancy, so that abortion is never seen as an inevitability.”