French Constitutional Reform Proposal

The challenge of enshrining abortion rights in the French constitution

During a speech given on International Woman’s Day, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision to put forward a bill enshrining abortion rights in the country’s constitution. Despite being lauded by women’s rights groups, changing the constitution may be more difficult than it appears.

On one hand, a bill put forward by the government is voted on by parliament in a joint session and passes with a three-fifths majority, contrary to a bill submitted by legislators, which is voted on via referendum and seen as more risky.

On the other hand, contrary to the legislators’ proposal, Macron’s government is opting for a bill that looks to bring about wider change in current institutions instead of one that is specifically targeted at consecrating abortion rights.

The draft law is expected to include changes such as the redrawing of current regional borders and the redefining of elected officials’ mandates, according to people close to the president.

Romain Brunet France 24