The President of the National Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet, pointed out, Thursday January 25, an “error” in “saying that the Constitution should not be the receptacle of social rights and rights and freedoms”, reacting to comments by the President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, on the constitutionalization of the right to abortion.

Ms. Braun-Pivet, from the presidential majority, was invited to react, during her greetings to the press, to statements by Mr. Larcher, elected by the Republicans (LR), who said he was opposed to the registration on Tuesday of voluntary termination of pregnancy in the Constitution, saying he believes that the right to abortion “is not threatened in our country” and that “the Constitution is not a catalog of social and societal rights”.

The Constitution organizes “the distribution between powers”, but its role is also to “consecrate fundamental rights and freedoms (…)”, and “the right to resort to abortion is a fundamental freedom”, affirmed the president of the Assembly. “We can clearly see, in a certain number of countries, and not countries that are so different from us, that it is today threatened. So yes, the Constitution is the right place, I even want to say the only place where this right must be enshrined today,” she concluded.

“Freedom guaranteed”

Ms. Braun-Pivet had earlier made a vibrant plea in favor of including abortion in the Constitution, arguing that feminists around the world expected France to “bear this word”. “We need to take this message to the whole world,” she said.

Yaël Braun-Pivet also claimed to have started with the President of the Senate “work on the organic law which binds [the] two assemblies” in order to carry out a “renovation of parliamentary work”. This work could result in an organic bill “in the summer”.

During the night from Wednesday to Thursday, after bitter debates, the Assembly largely approved the notion of “guaranteed freedom” for women to access abortion. Elected officials will have to confirm their choice on January 30 in a solemn vote, before sending the ball to the Senate. “Abortion is not a freedom like any other, because it allows women to decide their future,” said the Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, at the opening of the debate.

“The law determines the conditions under which the freedom guaranteed to women to have recourse to” an abortion is exercised: through this formulation, the executive hopes to find a way between the Assembly, which had voted at the end of 2022 a text from the “rebels” to establish a “right” to abortion; and the Senate, which narrowly validated a few months later the inclusion of “freedom” in the Constitution.

The path chosen for a constitutional revision requires that both chambers adopt the same text, before it is submitted to a vote in Congress bringing together parliamentarians, where it is only approved by a minimum of three-fifths of the votes. For a Congress to be convened, senators would therefore have to approve on February 28 this notion of “guaranteed freedom”, which raises eyebrows on the LR side.