On March 4, 2024 France became the world’s first country to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution, an effort that began in direct response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Lawmakers from both houses of the French Parliament voted 780 to 72 in favor of the measure, easily clearing the three-fifths majority needed to amend the French constitution.
The vote, held during a special gathering of lawmakers at the Palace of Versailles, southwest of Paris, was the final step in the legislative process. The French Senate and National Assembly each overwhelmingly approved the amendment earlier in the year.
The amendment states that there is a “guaranteed freedom” to abortion in France. Some groups and lawmakers had called for stronger language to explicitly call abortion a “right.”
Lawmakers hailed the move as a history-making way for France to send a clear signal of support on reproductive rights, with abortion under threat in the United States, as well as in parts of Europe, like Hungary, where far-right parties have come to power.
In the very simple and commonsense words of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, “A woman's right to choose an abortion is something central to a woman's life, to her dignity… And when government controls that decision for her, she's being treated as less than a full adult human being responsible for her own choices.”
Following the vote, the Eiffel Tower was lit up with the words “my body my choice.” The next day, March 5 was International Day of the Woman. France is the only country who truly celebrated the value of a woman's life. To honor this country, my poster translates as, "Let's go forward! Never backwards."
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