France becomes world’s first country to make abortion a constitutional right

Abortion right. In image French National Assembly/ courtesy: Wikimedia commons

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Versailles/IBNS-CMEDIA: France on Monday made abortion a constitutional right, becoming the world’s first country to do so.

The move was welcomed by the country’s women’s rights groups as ‘historic’ and was harshly criticised by anti-abortion groups.

MPs and senators overwhelmingly backed the move, by 780 votes against 72, in a special joint vote of the two houses of parliament.

Abortion rights activists gathered in central Paris cheered and applauded in front of the Eiffel Tower and displayed the message “MyBodyMyChoice” as the result of the vote was announced on a giant screen.

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

“We’re sending a message to all women: your body belongs to you and no one can decide for you,” Prime Minister Gabriel Attal told lawmakers ahead of the vote.

Women have had a legal right to abortion in France since a 1974 law – which many harshly criticised at the time.