People throughout France now have reproductive rights written into their constitution. (Credit: Unsplash, Wikimedia Commons)

Abortion access is now a constitutionally protected right in France.

On Monday, French lawmakers approved an amendment to their nation’s constitution during a special legislative session that deems abortions a “guaranteed freedom,” revoking the ability for future elected officials to diminish or revoke access.

“We are sending the message to all women: Your body belongs to you and no one has the right to control it in your stead,” Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said to the voting assembly of lawmakers, before the measure was passed with 780 votes in favor, and 72 against.

Those who pushed for the amendment, like Green Party member Mélanie Vogel, say its passage aligns with French citizens’ broad support of reproductive freedom, as polling suggests over 80 percent of them do. “France is showing the right to abortion is no longer an option, it’s a condition of our democracy,” she told The New York Times.

But they were also driven by the current climate in the U.S., where abortion access has become prohibitively hard to come by – if one can come by it at all – following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court in June 2022. That news further galvanized French politicians into action, reports say.

As it should – access to safe abortions now varies wildly from state to state in America, without federal-level protection in place. In 14 states, it’s completely banned. The results? A higher risk of death and long-term health problems for women, in addition to revoked bodily autonomy, for starters.

In better news for Americans’ reproductive health, the nation’s two largest pharmacy chains, CVS and Walgreens, recently announced they will begin supplying abortion pills this month in states where it’s legal to do so. The move comes weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized pharmacies to dole out mifepristone.

But across the pond in France, there is no longer the need to craft such a patchwork of care, thanks to the constitutional amendment. And those who fought for this have vowed to continue fighting for such protections in other countries. 

Senator Laurence Rossignol, former women’s rights minister, is one such activist. As she put it: “Liberty, equality, fraternity,” evoking France’s national motto. “And, if I could add, sorority.”