France’s Macron wants to make abortion a right at EU level

France’s Macron wants to make abortion a right at EU level
France’s Macron wants to make abortion a right at EU level

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a ceremony to seal the right to abortion in the French constitution, on International Women's Day, at the Place Vendome, in Paris March 8, 2024. — AFP pic

PARIS, March 8 — French President Emmanuel Macron said today that he wants the European Union to guarantee the right to an abortion in its Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Macron was speaking at a ceremony held in Paris, where Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti used a centuries-old press to seal the right to abortion into the French constitution, following an overwhelming vote by lawmakers on Monday.

“Today is not the end of the story but the start of a fight,” Macron told the ceremony, which coincided with International Women’s Day.

“We’re going to lead this fight in our continent, in our Europe, where reactionary forces are attacking women’s rights before attacking the rights of minorities,” he told the crowd attending the ceremony in Paris, in front of the Justice Ministry.

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“This is why I want to enshrine that guaranteed freedom to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.”

Changing the EU charter, which would require unanimity, may prove difficult. While most of Europe has legalised abortion, some countries impose restrictions on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy, and deep divisions over abortion rights remain.

Last year, the government of EU member Malta backed down on a bill which would have allowed the abortion of pregnancies when the mother’s health was at serious risk, saying instead that terminations would only be allowed when the mother’s life was in danger.

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Along with Malta, Poland’s anti-abortion laws are among the most restrictive in Europe. Pregnancy can be terminated only in cases of a threat to the mother’s life or health or in a case of rape, and the number of abortions fell to 161 in 2022 from over 1,000 in 2020.

Monday’s vote by the two houses of the French parliament enshrined in Article 34 of the French constitution that “the law determines the conditions in which a woman has the guaranteed freedom to have recourse to an abortion”.

Abortion rights are more widely accepted in France than in the United States and many other countries, with polls showing around 80 per cent of French people back the fact that abortion is legal. — Reuters

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