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A Breakthrough for Abortion Rights

Reproductive rights activists in France celebrated a historic victory on Monday, March 4th when France became the world’s first country to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution. The vote was held in the Palace of Versailles, where the lawmakers of the French Parliament voted 780 to 72 in favor of the measure— an overwhelming display of support. 

Contrary to the division in American politics, the majority of lawmakers who voted against the measure did so not out of anti-abortion notions. Many of those who voted against the measure thought it would simply be unnecessary given the country’s widespread support for abortion. 

The popular support of abortion in France contrasts profoundly with the divisiveness it has brought to American politics. France first legalized abortion in 1975, via a campaign led by Simone Veil. Veil was an Auschwitz survivor and France’s Health Minister at the time, who has since become a feminist icon of ample fame in France.

After the United States’ 2022 overturn of Roe v. Wade, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to better protect the right to an abortion in France. Macron stated that he “will not rest” until women across Europe gain similar protection. 

Before the vote, France’s Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said, “Above all, we’re sending a message to all women: your body belongs to you.” That night, the Eiffel Tower lit up with the words “Mon corps mon choix” or “My body my choice” in English. 

This big decision in France echoes around the world, pushing for fair treatment and freedom for women everywhere. France leading the way shows that change is possible and inspires others to fight for their rights too.