Abortion: France weakens the fundamental principle of a right to life

Publié le : 24 January 2014

 Tonight, after two hours of debate, the National Assembly adopted three provisions to be discretely incorporated in the draft bill relating to equality between men and women, and which will help to make abortion a right. 

MPs initially debated a provision aimed at amending the title of the second part of the French Public Health Code, namely "Health of the family, mother and child" to "Reproductive health, women’s rights and protection of the child’s health". As far as reporter Mr. Sébastien Denaja is concerned, the concept of "family health" does not make sense and should therefore be altered. 
The debate became livelier following this initial vote. The draft law aimed to remove a woman’s "distress" as a condition for an abortion and to consider any obstruction of information on abortion as an offence.
For the majority, removal of the condition of distress seeks merely to "tidy up" the Veil law, justified by the fact that the "formulation [would] become obsolete" and that women must be free to do what they want with their bodies. The right has, not without difficulty, endeavoured to push forward the right to life and denounced this major amendment. Thus UMP Frédéric Reiss stressed that abortion should "still be viewed as a departure from the principle of respect for fellow human beings”, stipulated in Article 16 of the Civil Code. On the one hand, Mr. Jean-Frédéric Poisson denounced the government’s desire to discretely get across issues of social importance and, on the other hand "to inscribe in law that abortion is a fundamental right, with no form of restriction". Finally, Christian Jacob, head of the UMP group, confirmed that " ‘the concept of distress has never prevented a woman from having access to an abortion, accusing the left of ‘breaking the consensus’ solely out of political interest and political scheming".  
After debating for just over an hour and a half, the article relating to considering as an offence any attempt to prevent abortion, previously voted on in the Senate, was not amended. Now, this punishable offence is therefore extended to information. Finally, the amendment proposed by around 15 UMP MPs and aimed at no longer reimbursing abortion was overwhelmingly rejected. 

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