'Eighty percent' of French want abortion rights enshrined in constitution

·2 min read
AFP - CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT

Eight out of 10 French people favour enshrining the right to abortion in the country’s constitution, an opinion poll published Tuesday shows.

Four proposals to do just that have been tabled in the National Assembly and the Senate from leftwing groups as well as President Emmanuel Macron’s own centrist party.

The issue has gained momentum in France since the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe vs Wade decision that has guaranteed the right to abortion at a federal level since 1973.

An Ifop poll carried out for the Jean Jaurès Foundation found the issue of abortion had reached a "solid consensus" in France, with 81 percent of people from across the political spectrum wanting greater protections.

"There is a cultural gap between French society and American society on this subject,” said François Kraus, director of politics and news at Ifop.

“Pro-Life discourses are not making an imprint in France. In fact, people from all sides of politics are united on this question of the ‘constitutionalisation’ of abortion.”

Veil law

Enshrining abortion rights the French constitution is seen as a way of protecting the Simone Veil law that decriminalised the procedure in 1975.

An opinion poll published nearly 50 years ago – shortly before the Veil law was adopted – showed that only 48 percent of French people believed a woman should have the right to end her pregnancy freely.

The question of including the measure in the constitution is to be debated by lawmakers now that four bills have been tabled in parliament.

Two bills in the lower house were put forward by the leftwing Nupes alliance and Macron’s Renaissance group, while two in the Senate are the work of the Socialist and Communist parties.

The proposed legislation has met with resistance from conservative and right-wing political figures, despite evidence that their supporters appear to be largely in favour of it.

Thousands of people in cities across France took to the streets on Saturday to protest the overturning of the Roe vs Wade decision.

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