France is one step closer to including access to abortion in its national constitution

In an extensive 8-hour session, the deputies voted in favor of the bill with 493 votes in favor and 30 against. Now, it needs to be approved by the Senate and then the Congress of Versailles.

France's National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to include access to abortion in its national constitution. The bill will now head to the Senate, where its members will debate whether the European country will become the first in the world to make abortion a constitutional right.

In an extensive 8-hour session, the deputies voted in favor of the law with 4,93 votes in favor and 30 against.

Now, in order for abortion to be included in the French constitution, the Senate must give its approval. However, the opposition controls the Senate and a much closer vote is expected.

The main difference between both parties lies in the terminology of the text, since the deputies preferred the word "right" and the senators opted for the notion of "freedom." President Emmanuel Macron presented the option of "guaranteed freedom" as a consensus.

In other words, it is about guaranteeing women’s “freedom” to an abortion, not a “right” to abortion in absolute terms.

If the Senate decides to also pass the bill, it will then be sent to the Congress in Versailles for its final approval. It will need to pass with a three-fifths majority. Hypothetically, that vote is expected to take place in March, around Women's Day.

The local Minister of Justice, Éric Dupond-Moretti, one of the officials who is strongly in favor of the legislation, celebrated the result.

"Tonight the Assembly and the government fulfilled their appointment with the history of women (...) I will make an effort to now bring their message to the Senate," he said.

The official also mentioned his intention to move away from the United States, Hungary and Poland, countries where he believes there has been a setback in reproductive issues.

"If we achieve this," Dupond-Moretti stressed, "France will be the first country in the world to protect that inalienable freedom," he stated.