On the occasion of their parliamentary niche this Thursday, the deputies of rebellious France presented their bill aimed at including the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy (IVG) in the Constitution. With 337 votes for against 32, the National Assembly voted in favor of the text. To win the votes of the majority deputies, the rapporteur of the LFI bill Mathilde Panot had announced that she would renounce the inclusion of the right to contraception in the Constitution.
“The law guarantees the effectiveness and equal access to right to voluntary termination of pregnancy “, indicates the voted text.
However, this is only the very first step towards the possible inclusion of abortion in the Constitution, which promises to be complex.
The Senate Obstacle
To hope to go further, the LFI bill adopted this Thursday will indeed have to be voted on in the same terms in the Senate, where the task promises to be more complex than at the Palais Bourbon. A similar bill supported by the government which aimed to constitutionalize the right to abortion was indeed examined on October 19 by the Senate, and rejected.
In the eyes of political scientist and lecturer in public law Benjamin Morel, “the position of the Senate is not anti-abortion but very cautious with regard to the inclusion of any new relatively vague right in the Constitution, on the principle that this It is not up to the judge to have to define the ins and outs in this matter”. “Given the position of each other, it looks complicated,” adds Benjamin Morel about the upcoming vote of senators.
Mélanie Vogel, environmental senator who had brought the bill to the Senate on October 19, does not want to give in to pessimism. “I believe that there is a way and that we have a possibility of winning this victory in the Senate”, she declared on Saturday on France 24 about the vote to come in the event of adoption of the constitutionalization of abortion at the Assembly.
A necessary referendum
Once the text has been voted on in the same terms by the National Assembly and the Senate, neither of the two chambers being able to have the last word in the event of a constitutional bill, the path is not over. Indeed, it would then be necessary that the registration of abortion in the Constitution be presented to the vote of the French people by referendum.
“Unlike a bill which leads to a convocation of the Congress which votes the provision by 3/5, a bill – constitutional – necessarily implies a referendum on the initiative of the President of the Republic”, recalls Benjamin Morell. What the government wants to avoid.
Certainly, the French population is still largely in favor of voluntary termination of pregnancy. Last July, 81% of French people even said they were in favor of its inclusion in the Constitution according to an Ifop poll for the Jean Jaurès Foundation. Nevertheless, a referendum is always a risk, no matter how small. The government, like several political parties, particularly on the left, would also like to avoid a referendum offering a media platform to minority anti-abortion groups.
To date, no referendum has yet been organized after the adoption of a constitutional bill by the two chambers of Parliament.
A bill to avoid the referendum?
The government could avoid a referendum on the subject. But for that, the only solution would be for the executive to present a bill to enshrine the right to abortion in the Constitution. “But we do not transform a bill into a bill like that, notes Benjamin Morel. We would have to go all the way back to the beginning and have the government produce a text to that effect. »
Then, the President of the Republic would convene a Congress before which he would present the bill to the senators and deputies. The text should obtain the approval of 60% of parliamentarians to be adopted, and the voluntary termination of pregnancy constitutionalized.
Admittedly, the deputies of the majority voted for the law proposal of insubordinate France. However, the government has so far not mentioned the idea of submitting to deputies and senators a bill to include the right to abortion in the Constitution.
Note that the Renaissance deputies were also to present a bill to constitutionalize abortion next Monday. In view of the outcome of the vote on Thursday, the majority text could finally be removed from the agenda.