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Macron says will put right to abortion in French constitution in ‘coming months’


French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday his government would present a draft law within months to include the right to abortion in the French constitution.

In a speech paying tribute to the late women’s rights activist and reproductive rights pioneer Gisele Halimi, Macron said the constitutional amendments would be brought to parliament.

“It will embody a woman’s freedom of choice to have an abortion and solemnly guarantee that nothing will limit or abrogate that right, as it will become irreversible,” he said.

“Women’s rights are always a fragile conquest,” Macron said.

France’s National Assembly has voted in favor of constitutional amendments in November 2022, but has yet to decide on a timetable.

The move picked up pace after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down abortion rights in June, sparking pressure from activists for France to do the opposite in a sign of its commitment to women’s rights.

Macron was speaking at a national mourning event for Halimi, who died in 2020 at the age of 93 after a long career as a lawyer, activist and politician.

In a landmark 1972 case, she won the acquittal of a minor who was on trial for an abortion because of a rape pregnancy.

But Macron’s choice to focus on Halimi on International Women’s Day has sparked some resistance, even from her family.

Her son Serge Halimi, a journalist, was not at the ceremony, saying it was “at a time when this country is rising up against deeply unfair pension reform”.

Several Women’s Day demonstrations across the country have included protests against retirement reforms, which some critics say treat women worse than men.

In 1975, France legalized abortion.

Successive laws aim to make abortion safe, anonymous and free.

But pro-choice associations say women who want abortions still often face prejudice and hostility.


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