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French Parliament ratifies the inclusion in the French Constitution of “guaranteed freedom” for abortion: but does this really prevent future restrictions?
  1. Philippe Faucher
  1. Family Planning, Hopitaux Universitaires Est Parisien, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Philippe Faucher, Service de Gynécologie Obstétrique, Hopitaux Universitaires Est Parisien, Paris, France; philippe.faucher{at}

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The two French Parliamentary chambers met on 4 March 2024 in the Congress of Versailles and voted in favour of the constitutional bill to include abortion as a fundamental right in law. Deputies and senators overwhelmingly approved the constitutional revision with 780 votes ‘for’ of 852 votes cast (72 ‘against’). This evolution of the French Constitution completes a process initiated in reaction to the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States (US) in 2022 to repeal the ‘Roe vs Wade’ ruling, which had protected access to abortion in the US at the federal level. The inclusion of abortion in the French Constitution is considered a means of protecting this fundamental right.

Although this has been widely applauded, the wording used in the new Constitution leaves some room for concern that abortion may not be as protected as one would assume. Back in November 2022, the members of French Parliament (deputies) approved a bill which aimed for the law to guarantee “the effectiveness and equal access to the right to abortion”, but the members of the higher parliamentary chamber (senators) rejected this in February 2023 and replaced the word ‘right’ for the word ‘freedom’. Essentially this expression “guaranteed …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.