What? A "Right to Abortion" In the French Constitution?

Steven Mosher
written by Carlos Beltramo
November 28, 2022
Reproduced with Permission
Population Research Institute

This past October 19, the French Senate, by a vote of 172-139, defeated a proposal to include in the Constitution a passage guaranteeing "the fundamental right to voluntary termination of pregnancy and contraception."

Senator Melanie Vogel, an ardent advocate of population control, introduced the proposal, determined to convince the full Senate to reverse the defeat in committee that her proposal had suffered a week before.

In comments both stentorian and frantic, Vogel that the Senate take the lead in feminist efforts to promote abortion worldwide:

"This is also about Europe," she argued. "Abortion rights have been pushed back in Poland and Hungary and could be at risk in Italy. If France enshrines abortion as a constitutional right, that would send a very strong message to all the feminist movements across the world who are either fighting for this right or to stop it being pushed back. It would show that a path of progress is possible, not just regression."

A calm Senator Agnes Canayer, President of the Law Commission, quietly rejected Vogel's heated oratory. The proposal is a "Pandora's box," she said. "There is no need to constitutionalize abortion [...] it is a reaction to the American news of the Dobbs ruling [Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization] ... this debate is not ours."

While the Vogel proposal failed, the prospects for France turning away from abortion to life are not heartening. During the debate, Senator Stephane Ravier caused an uproar when he denounced abortion as "an attack on life." He pointed out that "it is not a threatened right when there is a crime of obstruction of two years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros for those who try to oppose it, and 223,000 young women turned to it in 2021."

Nonetheless, Ravier's motion to reject the proposal "as a waste of time" was defeated by a vote of 344 to one - his own.

However, like Ravier, the Government's Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, Isabelle Rome, emphasized how Macron's government was already promoting abortion, citing its donations of $400 million euros over five years for abortion in other countries - presumedly Third World countries where mothers were having "too many children."

The Action Moves to The Lower House

While the constitutional debate in France continues, it should be noted that the country's abortion laws are far more restrictive that those advocated by Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and American Democrats nationally: last February, the French Parliament extended the limit from 12 to fourteen weeks gestation to abort the unborn child.

So the message from France is that, at least for now, the Constitution does not recognize abortion as a right. But that hasn't stopped pro-abortion forces there - far from it.

In fact, Deputies of Macron's party in the French National Assembly (the Lower House) have proposed several initiatives echoing Senator Vogel's failed proposal. The first of these bills passed its first test in the Standing Committee, and was adopted by the full Assembly last Thursday by a vote of 337-32, although almost two hundred Members either abstained or did not vote.

With such an ample majority, the pro-abortion cabal in both France and the international population control movement, supported by a unanimous media, will now turn up the pressure on members of the Senate to act. While they realize that several procedural obstacles remain before the radical abortion language officially becomes part of the Constitution for good, their approach reflects the dogged death-wish of the pro-abortion movement throughout the West: "In the end, we will triumph."

If there is no agreement between the National Assembly and the Senate, there will be no reform of the Constitution. But with the passage of time, the immense pressure from the pro-abortion Left will undoubtedly intensify.

Clearly there is no guarantee in the long term that that members of the French Senate will be able to withstand this pressure. It will be inevitable indeed if saving unborn children continues to be a low priority among France's conservative parties

Vogel's Frenzied Fear Explained

Senator Vogel's references to pro-life efforts in other European Union countries merits a closer look. In Hungary and Poland, support for pro-family policies is growing, and the EU is not pleased.

Hungary devotes more than 6.2% of its GDP to its various policies that encourage large families with financial incentives. The Polish government continually seeks to implement policies that favor marriage and motherhood. It is important to note that the decreasing number of abortions in these countries is due not to anti-abortion legislation but to the strong pro-family policies adopted by their pro-life, pro-family leaders.

And we might soon hear good news from Italy, where the new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has made it clear that she might pursue similar policies to those of her Hungarian and Polish neighbors.

"Yes to natural families, no to the LGBT lobby, yes to sexual identity, no to gender ideology, yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death," she told an audience in Spain earlier this year.

However, it remains to be seen how and when her government will move on specific legislation.