Hardening Rights

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French President Emmanuel Macron plans to enshrine the right to abortion in the country’s constitution, a move that will make France the first nation to explicitly designate access to the procedure as a protected constitutional right, Forbes reported.

Last week, the president announced that next year “the right of women to choose abortion will become irreversible.”

He submitted an amendment draft to France’s highest administrative body, the Council of State, for review. The draft will then need to be approved by three-fifths of both houses of parliament.

Observers said careful consideration was given to the language of the text, with the “freedom of women” favored over the “right of women” in order to pass the more conservative upper house.

Although abortion has been legal in the country since 1975, the decision to make it a constitutional right is due to worries by women’s groups that the right could be rolled back as it has in other countries.

Early last year, French lawmakers voted to expand the legal window for abortion access from the 12th week of pregnancy to the 14th.

Meanwhile, access to abortion has also been widened elsewhere: In July 2022, the European Parliament adopted a resolution to declare abortion a fundamental right.

In recent years, Latin America has experienced an energized “green wave” movement that has seen the decriminalization of abortion in countries such as Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.

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