Unsurprisingly, the right-wing opposition-dominated Senate rejected a bill to extend the legal deadline for abortion on Wednesday, which should nevertheless “continue on its way,” as the foreign minister wished. Adrien Taquet.
The text “To Strengthen the Right to Abortion” provides for the legal deadline for access to abortion to be extended from 12th to 14th week of pregnancy (16 weeks of amenorrhea) in response to a shortage of practitioners the gradual closure of Abortion centers.
Already elected by the MPs in the first reading, it was put on the Senate’s agenda by the PS parliamentary group, with the aim of “pushing ahead the parliamentary shuttle so that the text is successful”.
To the regret of the majority of the groups, the House of Lords interrupted the discussion by voting a motion to reject the entire text, which was defended by Corinne Imbert on behalf of the Les Républicains group.
The motion was elected with 201 votes (LR and centrists) and 142 against (PS, RDPI with a majority En Marche, CRCE with a communist majority, RDSE with a radical majority, independents, ecologists).
We have to move forward calmly
“Even if the discussion is broken off, it is important that the draft law continues on its way,” said the State Secretary for Children and Families. “Regardless of political opinions, we have to move forward calmly, respecting each other’s beliefs,” he added.
The LREM MP group has already announced its wish to put it back on the Assembly’s agenda.
Promoted by the unaffiliated MP Albane Gaillot (ex-EDS), it had broad support from LREM in the first reading.
In the Senate, the text was carried by Laurence Rossignol, for which it is “a matter of reacting to situations which, although limited by their number, are medically unacceptable on a social level”. “In the last 15 years, the number of facilities that perform abortions has decreased by 22%,” she stressed and also called for “structural measures”.
“No ethical objection”
The government-seized National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) estimated in mid-December that “there are no ethical objections to extending access to abortion” by two weeks. As a result, CCNE has taken the contrary view of the National Academy of Medicine and has opposed any action it believes could increase the use of “surgical maneuvers” that are potentially “dangerous to women”.
Every year around 1,500 to 2,000 women go abroad to have an abortion – mainly in the Netherlands, Spain and the UK – because they have exceeded the legal deadline in France, according to the CCNE. In these countries the statutory period is more than 16 weeks.
In the autumn, Health Minister Olivier Véran had exercised great caution during the exam at the Palais Bourbon, given a “sensitive” issue and a “premature” debate. It is “not sure” that the text “goes to the end”, even slipping two weeks later.