Right to abortion: why its inclusion in the Constitution is far from being adopted

Adopted in the National Assembly, the bill allowing the right to abortion to be included in the Constitution must now pass in the Senate – which recently rejected a similar initiative – before a very possible referendum.

A rare moment of unity. The deputies from the left, from the presidential majority and some elected National Rally (RN) joined their voices on Thursday to adopt the draft law of the rebellious allowing the right to abortion to be included in the Constitution.

But that’s just one step. As required by the classic legislative procedure of the parliamentary shuttle, the text must now be studied in the Senate. This chamber, where Les Républicains (LR) senators hold the majority, is likely to choose a path other than that taken by the National Assembly.

“Almost no chance of success”

On October 19, environmental senator Mélanie Vogel presented a similar bill to the Luxembourg Palace. Result: 172 senators against, including 134 among the LR ranks, and 139 votes for, in particular the left and most macronists.

On Monday, the debate between the presidential candidates of the Les Républicains party on LCI symbolized the differences of opinion between the two chambers. Eric Ciotti and Aurélien Pradié, both deputies, were in favor of a compromise, with a constitutionalization of the principles of the Veil law, unlike Bruno Retailleau.

“Nobody disputes the Veil law in France”, then justified the boss of the LR senators, evoking “a debate that the far left is importing from the United States”.

Moreover, even if the Senate retained this bill, it would not be worth a final adoption. If the approval of the two chambers may suffice for a bill revising the Constitution emanating from the President of the Republic, this is not the case for the constitutional bills initiated by parliamentarians.

If these are voted in favor (and in the same terms) both in the National Assembly and in the Senate, they must then be validated during a referendum.

If the question of the constitutionalization of abortion has a broad consensus in public opinion – 81% of French people were in favor of it according to a poll carried out by Ifop in July – Mathilde Panot, leader of the group of rebellious deputies said she was in favor of a bill to speed up the procedure. “Now the ball is in the government’s court,” said the MP for Val-de-Marne.

“All this has in my opinion almost no chance of succeeding in view of my discussions with the senators”, nevertheless explained bluntly the Keeper of the Seals Éric Dupond-Moretti this Wednesday before the deputies.

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