France's answer on abortion: Should constitution include a woman's right to choose?

Audio 45:38

Who would have thought that a Supreme Court ruling in the United States could trigger a constitutional amendment in France? After all, there is zero threat here to a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy, a right that has been on the books since 1975. Earlier this month we saw blowback in the US to that June decision by the high bench in Washington, with midterm election results pointing to record mobilisation by young people. For them, women's rights were on the ballot.


Is France artificially importing an American argument, or is there more to the shock felt on this side of the Atlantic? We ask about duelling versions of that amendment to the French constitution. Also in focus is France's often overlooked upper chamber – the Senate – more conservative, less powerful than the National Assembly but in this instance powerful enough to scuttle the plan. Why is that?

Lately, in books and in movies, France has been revisiting the bygone era that was the 1970s struggle for the legalisation of abortion. More Catholics went to Church and the nation was far more conservative in its values. Can the pendulum swing again? Is Poland an outlier with its recent recriminalisation of abortion, or could culture wars like those made in the USA come this way?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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