Emmanuel Macron’s campaign promise, the inclusion in the Constitution of “guaranteed freedom” to have recourse to voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) will be debated by Parliament from Wednesday. Questioned on this subject, the President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, however, again opposed this measure on Tuesday January 23.

“Abortion is not threatened in our country. If it were threatened, believe me, I would fight for it to be maintained. But I think that the Constitution is not a catalog of social and societal rights,” argued the elected representative of Les Républicains on Franceinfo.

“By tradition [as Senate President], I don’t vote, but I give you a very personal opinion. In conscience, I think that the Constitution is not that catalog,” he added. “The first concern of mine is the conditions in which voluntary termination of pregnancy is practiced,” argued Mr. Larcher, recalling “that in more than ten years we have closed 130 centers” which are devoted to abortion.

The term “freedom” retained rather than “right”

Before a possible adoption of the modification of the Basic Law by Congress (bringing together deputies and senators), which could take place at the beginning of March, if a three-fifths majority emerges, the draft constitutional revision presented in mid-December in the Council of Ministers must first be voted on in the same terms by the National Assembly and the Senate. Examination of the text will begin on Wednesday in the Assembly.

In the event of adoption in the Hemicycle, rather likely after a favorable vote already granted in the law committee, the text will then be submitted to the Senate, where the right and its centrist allies dominate the ranks.

Against a backdrop of concern about the challenges to the right to abortion, particularly in the United States, but also in Europe, the government’s text plans to include in the Constitution the fact that “the law determines the conditions in which exercise the freedom guaranteed to the woman to have recourse to abortion.

He is trying to find a middle path between the National Assembly, which had voted at the end of 2022 a text carried by the group La France insoumise to guarantee “access to the right to abortion”, and the Senate, which had endorsed in February a version evoking the “freedom of a woman to end her pregnancy”. It therefore enshrines the notion of “guaranteed freedom”.

“We are making a compromise on the wording, I hope that this will lead to a favorable vote in the Senate,” reacted Tuesday morning the head of the “rebellious” deputies, Mathilde Panot, to the press in the Assembly. “It is the ultimate freedom of each and everyone to be able to dispose of their body, this has its place in our Constitution,” she added.