The National Assembly votes on first reading to include abortion in the Constitution

Unsurprisingly, the inclusion in the Constitution of “guaranteed freedom” for women to have recourse to voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) was adopted at first reading, in the National Assembly, during a vote solemn Tuesday, January 30, by 493 votes to 30

The National Assembly votes on first reading to include abortion in the Constitution

Unsurprisingly, the inclusion in the Constitution of “guaranteed freedom” for women to have recourse to voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) was adopted at first reading, in the National Assembly, during a vote solemn Tuesday, January 30, by 493 votes to 30.

“The law determines the conditions under which the freedom guaranteed to a woman to have recourse to” an abortion is exercised. The wording proposed by the government was validated to the loud applause of the deputies, against a backdrop of concern about the challenges to this right in the United States and in certain European countries.

“This victory sounds like revenge against the shame, clandestinity, silence, suffering, death that hundreds of thousands of women have had to face,” launched the president of the group La France insoumise (LFI) from the podium. , Mathilde Panot, who had a first text voted on at the end of 2022 consecrating a “right” to abortion. It is “a great feminist victory”, for her part greeted Marie-Noël Battistel (Socialist Party, PS, Isère), when Sandrine Rousseau (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, Paris) peppered her speech with the words “No, you don't have a name", song by Anne Sylvestre about the choice, or not, of having a child.

“This evening the National Assembly and the government did not miss their meeting with women’s history,” declared the Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, after the vote. I will now work to bring your message to the Senate. »

The divided right

The constitutional reform was supported by 493 deputies against 30. All left-wing elected officials and almost all of the majority and the independent LIOT group voted for.

On the right, the Les Républicains (LR) group was divided between 40 for, 15 against and 4 abstentions. Just like the National Rally (46 for, 12 against and 14 abstentions). On the LR side, several deputies are concerned about an imbalance in relation to the Veil law, between "the possibility for women to have recourse to abortion and respect for human beings from the beginning of their life", according to MP Emilie Bonnivard (LR, Savoie). Some also wonder about possible extensions of the legal duration for an abortion or challenges to the conscience clause of caregivers refusing to perform it, without the Constitutional Council being able to oppose it.

The formulation proposed by the government had already been validated by a large majority by the deputies on the evening of January 24 (by 99 votes for and 13 votes against), after nearly eight hours of discussions.

Eyes turned towards the Senate

The text must now be adopted in the same terms at the Luxembourg Palace to hope to be ratified. Because the path chosen for a constitutional revision requires that both chambers adopt the same text, before it is submitted to a vote in Congress bringing together all parliamentarians, and requiring three-fifths of the votes.

But any change in the text would have consequences on the calendar. For a Congress to be convened, the Senate would need to approve this notion of “guaranteed freedom” on February 28, which offends executives on the right. And the senatorial right, reluctant to give gifts to the executive, had experienced as pressure the fact that the government suggested, in December 2023, the date of March 5 to convene the Congress, which would suppose that the High Assembly endorsed government editorial staff.

“We will take the time it takes to complete this review”, promised by Emmanuel Macron, Eric Dupond-Moretti recently tried to clear mines. If the Senate again adopted a version different from that of the National Assembly, the parliamentary shuttle would resume.