Emmanuel Macron

A powerful message

2 minute read

The French President sealed the guaranteed right to abortion into the country’s constitution on International Women’s Day 2024, declaring it a reminder of “the fate of generations of women deprived of the most intimate of choices: whether or not to have a child.” Beyond women’s autonomy, abortion access has major implications for public health, as pregnancy and childbirth can be life-threatening and can lead to lifelong health conditions.

The amendment passed in a 780-72 vote and made France the first country in world history to enshrine abortion as a constitutional right. While abortion had been legal in France since 1975, Macron called the vote necessary after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade and rescinded 50 years of federally guaranteed abortion rights in the U.S.

Macron insists he’s just getting started. “Today is not the end of the story, but the start of a fight,” he said at a ceremony celebrating the French amendment. “We’re going to lead this fight in our continent, in our Europe, where reactionary forces are attacking women’s rights before attacking the rights of minorities.” Macron pledged to make abortion a basic European right, enshrining freedom to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

He has his work cut out for him. Changing the E.U. charter requires unanimity, and while many countries of the 27 countries in the E.U. support abortion rights, others, such as Malta and Poland have restrictive anti-abortion laws and remain deeply divided on the issue. Macron says France “will not rest until this promise is kept throughout the world.”

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