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Why can abortion rights never pass in the Constitution?

Will the right to abortion be written in the marble of the French Constitution? Three months after the overturning of Roe vs. With the United States Supreme Court guaranteeing federal access to abortion, French senators must decide on this sensitive topic on Wednesday, October 19. Environmentalist Senator Melanie Vogel, fearing that this right will one day be attacked, has introduced a bill to amend the Constitution. Last June, Elizabeth Bourne advocated for the constitutionalization of abortion.

If today abortion is included in the Public Health Code in article L2212-1, which allows the termination of pregnancy up to 14 weeks, the group EELV, associated with Nupes and Renaissance, wants to go further by amending Title III of the Constitution adding: Article 66-2 should be drafted as follows:No one can interfere with the fundamental right to voluntary termination of pregnancy. The nation guarantees everyone effective access to this right“.

Beyond the debate over whether or not abortion should be enshrined in the Constitution, it is simply legally feasible.

Consensus is needed between the Assembly and the Senate

The Constitution can be amended according to its Article 89, which states:the revision draft must be considered and then voted on by both assemblies in the same manner“. Thus, for the right to abortion to become one of the fundamental constitutional rights, the National Assembly and the Senate must agree on a single text. However, barring a reversal, it is highly likely that the Senate will oppose it. On October 12, Melanie Fogel’s two proposals, which were examined by the Senate Judiciary Committee, were rejected.

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Minutes of the Legal Committee in the Senate on October 12. The Senate

When saying “attached to abortion protection“The Legal Commission assessed that”.there was no need for constitutional revision“. Incorporating the constitutional right to abortion and contraception “It is not justified by the situation in our country. he went on to describe the move as “net announcement» and symbolic“.

Without Senate agreement on this proposal, constitutional reform cannot take place,” argues Guillaume Tussaud, professor of public law at Sciences Po Paris. If the bill was signed by 144 senators from different groups (out of a total of 348), then the majority right is unified. “It is an emotional legislation that will violate the legal order. This text has nothing to do with the Constitution, which is the organization of public powers and fundamental rights.», asserted Senator Muriel Jourda (LR).

The only solution to overcome the deadlock of the Senate will be to refer to Article 11 of the Constitution, thus opening the bill to a popular referendum at the proposal of the President of the Republic. This procedure was used twice during the Fifth Republic. once successfully in 1962 and again in 1969 under General de Gaulle. It has been highly controversial ever since, considered unconstitutional by most legal scholars. “Some even think that the Constitutional Council will go so far as to ban the decree inviting citizens to come to their office to express their opinion.“, – says Guillaume Tussaud, who, however, has reservations. If we are to believe the latest Ifop survey published in early July for the Jean Jaurès Foundation, which estimates 81% of French people in favor of the constitutionalization of abortion, the referendum could receive a positive opinion in French society.

During this period, the Macronist MPs are not demobilized. They plan to move their text to the Assembly Laws Committee on November 9th and to the heart of the semi-cart the week of November 28th. “Change our Constitution“is”a difficult process, but it is a fierce will” so “the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy cannot be questioned“, said Avro Berge, the president of the group, on Tuesday, October 18.

Source: Le Figaro

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