French president wants to enshrine abortion in the Constitution “as soon as possible”

Emmanuel Macron also called for an extension of the scope of referendums and a simplification of the shared-initiative referendum procedure.

Evangelical Focus · PARIS · 09 OCTOBER 2023 · 09:45 CET

Photo:  <a target="_blank" href="">@SabrinaRoubache</a>.,

Addressing the Constitutional Council on 4 October to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, French president Emmanuel Macron said that he wants to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution “as soon as possible”.

The head of state also stressed that he aims to “find a text that reconciles the points of view of the National Assembly and the Senate and makes it possible to convene a Congress in Versailles”.


Two different texts

At the beginning of the year, the Senate Law Commission rejected the text of the daft law to include abortion in the Constitution, after and most senators voted against it last October.

But on March, most of the senators (166 votes in favour and 152 against) passed the daft law, which had a new wording that changes the term “right” for “freedom to terminate the pregnancy”.

Previously, in November 2022 the lower house of the French parliament also approved by a large majority of 337 votes for and 32 against, a daft law to enshrine abortion rights in the Constitution.

Since both texts are different, the parliamentary process must continue until the text is voted on in identical terms by the two assemblies, and then it must be approved by referendum.

“I hope that this work of reconciling points of view will resume and be completed as soon as possible”, pointed out Macron in his speech.

He also clarified that “we don't revise the Constitution out of emotion, in response to trends, or for the beauty of the gesture”.

However, last March Macron proposed to choose a constitutional draft law on the government's initiative, to avoid the tension a referendum on this controversial issue would bring.

A referendum would then not be necessary if three-fifths of parliament voted in favour of the bill.


Extending the scope of referendum

During his speech, the French President also stated that, in general, “the scope of the referendums must be able to open up”, by extending it and simplifying the use of shared-initiative referendum procedure.

Nevertheless, he rejected the idea that a referendum could “undo the work of Parliament" and underline that “extending the scope of referendums should not allow us to evade the rule of law”.

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