Abortion in France: legislation that does not comply with rights

Publié le : 24 January 2014

 In France, abortion is henceforth "a right like any other" – there is no longer any legal condition prior to the implementation of this act (Gènéthique press review of January 20th, 2014).      

In the daily newspaper, Ouest France, Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet, jurist and Professor of Public Law at the University of Rennes 1 is keen to point out that, contrary to what "neo-feminists" constantly confirm in their desire to legitimise abortion, "no right is absolute or without limits". To justify this, Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet bases her argument not only on texts but also on French and international jurisprudence.
Firstly, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789: "liberty consists in the ability to do whatever does not harm another: hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no other limits than those which assure to other members of society the enjoyment of the same rights". Thus, abortion does not only concern "the right of a woman to do what she likes with her body – it also involves terminating the life of another person".      
Much later, in the United States, the Roe v. Wade landmark case heralding the recognition of abortion as a constitutional right confirmed that: "if the right to privacy includes the decision to have an abortion, it cannot be considered in isolation" because "the State is perfectly entitled to plead its vested interest in maintaining medical deontology and safeguarding prenatal life".    
In 1993, the German Constitutional Court promoted the principle of human dignity: "The State must ensure legal conditions for the development of unborn human beings" who have "a right to life which not only exists on acceptance by the mother". 
In 2001, The French Constitutional Court referred to the concept of distress: "by extending to twelve weeks the length of time during which a distressed pregnant woman can have an abortion, the law has not disrupted the balance imposed by the Constitution on safeguarding human dignity against any form of degradation on the one hand, and the freedom of women on the other hand, as set out in Article 2 of the 1789 Declaration".
Finally, in 2010, the European Court of Human Rights stated that States have an appreciative margin for managing “the protection of the unborn child and the concurrent rights of the pregnant woman”.
Consequently, if abortion is an option, under no circumstances is it an "absolute right" based solely on the "wishes" of the mother. Thus the concept of distress, which has just been removed in France, is aimed merely at "highlighting ‘no limit’ ideology and the feminist desire for total power. That in itself is terrifying," concluded the jurist. 

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