LR Amendment In The Senate Could Delay Including Abortion In The Constitution

Retailleau, who personally opposes the constitutionalization of abortion, explained on Public Senate on January 23 that "for a certain number, guaranteed freedom means a right. And this is not at all the meaning of what was discussed a few months ago."

LR Amendment In The Senate Could Delay Including Abortion In The Constitution - SurgeZirc FR
LR Amendment In The Senate Could Delay Including Abortion In The Constitution.

The bill to include voluntary termination of pregnancy in the Constitution reached the Senate chamber on Wednesday, February 28, after receiving the green light from the National Assembly.

The vote of the Upper House is crucial for the continuation of the process. However, an amendment proposed by Les Républicains (LR) may potentially delay the realization of this ambition of President Emmanuel Macron.

It is important to note that on January 30, the National Assembly approved the inclusion of “guaranteed freedom” for women to have an abortion.

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The government intentionally chose this notion of “guaranteed freedom” instead of “right” to reach a compromise and encourage the vote of the more resistant elected officials towards the constitutionalization of abortion.

This strategic move was particularly aimed at gaining the support of LR members, who constitute the largest group in the Senate and are therefore essential for the success of the project.

The strategy seemed to have worked initially, as the Law Committee voted in favor of the bill on February 14. However, just two days before the examination of the text in the Senate, senators Bruno Retailleau and Philippe Bas tabled an amendment on February 26.

The purpose of this amendment is to “delete the term ‘guarantee’ added by the government to restore the version adopted by the Senate a year ago.”

Retailleau, who personally opposes the constitutionalization of abortion, explained on Public Senate on January 23 that “for a certain number, guaranteed freedom means a right. And this is not at all the meaning of what was discussed a few months ago.”

The amendment aims to remove the legal uncertainties surrounding the use of the term “guarantee.” This proposed change is far from being trivial. For a bill to be presented to Congress, it must be passed in the same terms by both houses of Parliament.

If the LR amendment is adopted and the bill is voted on with these terms in the Palais du Luxembourg, the National Assembly will have to vote on it again. This raises two important questions.

Firstly, the date of the Congress is crucial for the bill to change the Constitution. Sylvain Maillard, the leader of the Renaissance group in the National Assembly, informed his colleagues on February 27 that Parliament could meet in Versailles as early as Monday, March 4. However, this schedule is contingent upon the Senate’s vote.

Secondly, there is uncertainty as to whether the National Assembly will be satisfied with a text that only enshrines “freedom” instead of “guaranteed freedom.” Initially, the deputies had advocated for the inclusion of the “right” to abortion, which is a much stronger term.

This may reignite debates and potentially postpone the inscription of this fundamental right into the Constitution to a later date. The LR amendment in the Senate has the potential to significantly delay the inclusion of abortion in the Constitution.

The outcome of the vote and subsequent decisions made by the National Assembly will determine the course of action for this crucial issue. As the process unfolds, it is important to closely monitor the developments and their implications for women’s reproductive rights in France.

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