France becomes first country to enshrine abortion in constitution: 'Guaranteed freedom'

Unsplash/Alice Triquet
Unsplash/Alice Triquet

France became the first nation to enshrine abortion in its national constitution in an overwhelming vote that prompted a standing ovation from the French Parliament in Versailles on Monday.

French lawmakers overwhelmingly voted 780-72 in favor of the bill to amend Article 34 of the French constitution. The measure was introduced in January and passed by the French Senate last week. 

When the final vote was announced, the room in Versailles Palace erupted with sustained applause, and many who were gathered in Paris' Trocadéro Square to watch the vote on a large screen also cheered as the amendment passed, according to The New York Times.

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On Monday evening, the Eiffel Tower was emblazoned with the words "My body, my choice."

Sixty-six percent of respondents supported the amendment, including 76% of those aged 18-34, according to a YouGov poll in February.

While abortion has been legal in France since 1975, the new legislative move has made abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy a "guaranteed freedom" for French women, and future French governments will be barred from drastically modifying it. Abortions are allowed after 14 weeks if the pregnancy poses a threat to the health of the mother or the baby exhibits genetic anomalies.

French legislators were reportedly driven by the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022, ruling that a right to abortion is not in the U.S. Constitution.

French President Emmanuel Macron backed the measure to amend the French constitution, which was adopted in 1958 and only amended about 20 times since.

Macron again tweeted last week in support of the amendment, writing, "I am committed to making women's freedom to have an abortion irreversible by enshrining it in the Constitution."

"After the National Assembly, the Senate is taking a decisive step which I welcome. For the final vote, I will convene Parliament in Congress on March 4," he wrote.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, 34, supported the measure.

"We are sending the message to all women: Your body belongs to you and no one has the right to control it in your stead," he said during a speech before the final tally, according to The New York Times.

While the amendment was evidently popular among French legislators and many French citizens, it drew condemnation from the Vatican and the French Conference of Bishops (CEF).

In a statement last week, the CEF stated that abortion "remains an attack on life from the very beginning" and cannot be seen exclusively from the "angle of women's rights." The bishops expressed sadness that the government did not instead focus on promoting the rights of women and children.

In a similar statement, the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) said, "In the era of universal human rights, there cannot be a 'right' to taking a human life," according to Vatican News.

PAV added that all governments and religious traditions must "do their best so that at this stage in history, the protection of life becomes an absolute priority, with concrete steps in favor of peace and social justice and with effective measures for a universal access to resources, education and healthcare."

Jon Brown is a reporter for The Christian Post. Send news tips to

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