Abortion in the Constitution : A Denial of Humanity


Abortion in the Constitution: A denial of humanity

By constitutionalising abortion as a guaranteed freedom, with no safeguards and without consideration for situations which could be avoided, the government and parliamentarians are showing a total absence of humanity. How can one believe that the “Motherland of human rights” does itself proud by concealing the fact that our humanity starts at the very beginning of existence?

Despite the indecent political exploitation of this painful question, despite the persistent questions concerning the specific conscience clause for carers and around the advent of an enforceable right to abortion, the French National Assembly and the Senate chose to engrave abortion in the slab of the Constitution.

Nearly 50 years have gone by since the law decriminalising abortion was passed in 1975, 50 years during which all the provisions initially included to accompany and inform women have been gradually deleted.  Over the years, we have gone from the possibility of abortion, “to control it and, as far as possible, dissuade women” to a right to abortion, claimed “without constraints”.  Registration of the freedom of abortion in the Constitution represents a supplementary and highly symbolic stage towards the commonplace acceptance of a procedure which puts human life at stake.

A concealed reality

In 2022, some 234,300 abortions were conducted and the rate of abortion reached a level never previously attained of 16.9 per thousand women of child-bearing age. In 2020, a study by DREES (Directorate for Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics) revealed that women on the lowest incomes are the most likely to resort to abortion. It is known that 85% of unintended pregnancies of students end in abortion and that the 20-29-year-olds concentrate the highest rates of abortion (26.9 ‰ among 20-24-year-olds and 28.6 ‰ among 25-29-year-olds). Additionally, recent studies have shown links between domestic violence and repetitive abortions.

In France, the link between abortion and violence however remains little known: very few doctors systematically question women requesting an abortion about domestic violence [1]. Nevertheless, it is known that for 40 % of the 201,000 women concerned each year by domestic violence, it began with the first pregnancy.

A freedom under pressure

Confirming these data, Alliance VITA, which has been accompanying women for over 20 years, observes that the number of women confronting unintended pregnancy reluctantly resort to abortion, very often under masculine pressure, but also from their entourage or for economic reasons. Our experience shows that not all women submit to abortion “freely and by choice” but in the absence of any alternative and for safety reasons. In view of these realities which do not appear to be of concern to the public authorities, the constitutionalisation of a freedom to abort seems quite disconnected.

Even if constitutionalised, abortion, can never be trivial, and should not be considered as inevitable.

For years we have been asking for a thorough study of the causes and consequences of abortion. A proposal for a preventive policy is more than ever necessary.

In confrontation with this political denial, and in order to allow women to speak out, we are preparing an awareness campaign on the links between abortion and the pressures, violence and discriminations which women are subjected to during early pregnancy.

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