Right to Abortion French Senate

The French Senate (Sénat): In a historic moment marking a step forward for ensuring and protecting a woman’s right to abortion, on 04-03-2024, the French Senate in joint session in the Palace of Versailles1 definitively adopted the Bill aiming to enshrine in the French Constitution the freedom of women to resort to voluntary termination of pregnancy. With 780 votes pulling in favour of the inclusion, the Right To Abortion will now become a part of the French Constitution. Furthermore, France becomes the only country to explicitly guarantee the right to abortion in its constitution2.

Background and Trajectory: The objective to enshrine a constitutional right enabling women to voluntary terminate pregnancy gained impetus in France when in 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) held that the Constitution of United States does not confer any right vis-à-vis abortions and decisively overruled the landmark 49-year old SCOTUS ruling of Roe v. Wade, 1973 SCC OnLine US SC 20, which granted this constitutional right in the first place.

As per the drafters of the Bill titled “Liberté de recourir à l’interruption volontaire de grossesse” or “Freedom to Resort to Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy”, provides that the rights to abortion and contraception cannot be infringed and guarantees for free and effective access to these rights.

The Bill was then deliberated over by the National Assembly and the Senate. The text that was eventually adopted by the Senate on 04-03-2024 reads thusly3

After the seventeenth paragraph of Article 34 of the Constitution, a paragraph is inserted as follows-

The law determines the conditions under which the freedom guaranteed to a woman to have recourse to a voluntary termination of pregnancy is exercised.

1. France makes abortion a constitutional right in historic Versailles vote | France | The Guardian

2. As France ensures right to abortion, other countries look to expand access | World News – Business Standard (business-standard.com)

3. Liberté de recourir à l’interruption volontaire de grossesse (senat.fr)

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