Abortion Access

Alarmed by what happened in America, France moves to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution

  Rob Boston

Abortion was considered a right protected by the U.S. Constitution for 49 years – but that right evaporated overnight when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022.

One country, considering what happened in America as a cautionary tale, has taken steps to ensure it doesn’t happen there. Legislators in France have approved historic legislation that explicitly enshrines abortion rights in the country’s constitution.

Avoiding the U.S. example

French lawmakers were clearly rattled by anti-abortion developments in the U.S. The Associated Press reported that President Emmanuel Macron vowed to protect abortion rights in France just hours after the U.S. high court overturned Roe on June 24, 2022. It took nearly two years, but the new policy passed with overwhelming support. The AP reported that none of France’s major political parties – including major far-right units – oppose legal abortion. Polls show support for legal abortion in France hovering around 85%.

Mathilde Philip-Gay, a law professor at Jean Moulin University Lyon 3, told the AP that the vote was designed to protect abortion rights even in the face of possible political changes, such as a far-right government coming to power in France. French lawmakers, she said, are aware that “what happened in the U.S. can happen elsewhere in Europe, including in France” and noted that putting a right to abortion in the French Constitution “will make it harder for abortion opponents of the future to challenge these rights…”

There was a time when the United States set the standard for personal and civil liberties. Our nation was an example for others to follow. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s embrace of a twisted definition of religious freedom and the ultra-conservative justices’ undermining of church-state separation, that mantle is being passed to other nations.

Being pulled backward

Not only is the United States no longer leading the way when it comes to protecting fundamental human rights, but we’re struggling every day to avoid being dragged backward into a Christian Nationalist hellscape of de facto theocracy.

Even as we cheer the expanding rights for the people of France, let’s take a moment to lament the loss of our own – and resolve to win them back.

Congress needs to hear from you!

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

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