Facebook pixel

France's decision to insert abortion into the constitution could be the wake-up call Britain needs

Photo by Rafael Garcin on Unsplash

Last night, in the historic Palace of Versailles, 13 miles southwest of Paris, French lawmakers voted in favour of amending their constitution to ensure abortion is a “guaranteed freedom.” The symbolic revote took place, as is custom with all constitutional changes, following the success of the same amendment in both the National Assembly (lower house) in January and the Senate (upper house) last Wednesday.

The vote was met with hysteria by crowds and was followed by the projection of the words “My body, my choice” in English onto the Eiffel Tower. The “universal message” and “pride” of the act could not have been clearer.

But why? Abortion has already been legal in France since 1975. In February 2022, the abortion limit was even extended from 12 to 14 weeks. Why the need for all of this constitutional commotion?

Well, the two main reasons are the USA and Poland. According to the BBC, “There is concern that the right to termination is being eroded in ally nations like the US and Poland.” The Guardian adds Italy, Hungary, and Spain to the list. Other articles cite what could be described as an internal threat.

“It’s impossible to tell if abortion rights won’t come into question in the future in France,” Mathilde Panot, head of the left-wing France Unbowed group in the National Assembly, told POLITICO. Meanwhile, Senator Dominique Vérien (a centrist), speaking to the Guardian, suggested the pro-life movement was to blame. Referring to such “pernicious” activities like attacks on family planning centres, anti-abortion stickers placed on rental bikes, and worst of all, the audacity of one TV channel to refer to abortion as “the number one cause of mortality in the world” ahead of “cancer and tobacco,” Vérien stated: “Let’s not be naive, France is permeable to these movements. We have to protect this freedom.”

Suffice it to say, France, for internal and external reasons, is feeling insecure about its own abortion law and is taking radical action to resolve it.

According to Leah Hoctor, of the Center for Reproductive Rights, France's constitutional change would be "the first explicit broad constitutional provision of its kind, not just in Europe, but also globally." Excluding Cuba and a few Balkan states, this is probably true. But as ever, who is it really protecting?

A central character in the progress of this constitutional change is the Justice Minister, Eric Dupond-Moretti. Previously a famous criminal defence lawyer, he gained the nickname "acquitator” due to his success rate. So attached was he to the courts, his first wife was actually serving as a juror when they first met. Unsurprisingly, he has praised the vote, referring to it as a statement “to all those who don’t yet know that the women in our country are free …and to what point we are attached to that freedom.” Yet, for a man who has made a career defending ‘criminals’, and is alleged to have been applauded during one prison visit, this should come as no surprise. Talk to those who have had abortions or research post-abortive trauma, and one quickly finds that abortion and freedom are oxymorons. Therefore Morettii is not ultimately defending women but the abortion industry that oppresses them.

In short, whatever cross-stitch Macron and his team are trying to tie off before their departure from office, time is sure to unravel it.

What will all this mean for Britain?

While I am sure all this will embolden the likes of Creasy and Johnson in pursuit of decriminalised abortion, a matter sure to be made worse if Labour gets in at the next election, there is little broader historic precedent to suggest what happens in France will happen here too.

Firstly, for all of Creasy’s postulating to make abortion a number one right, the British legal system simply does not have a constitution. Put simply, our legal code is not a temple that has been constructed quickly slab on slab, but an oak forest that has grown organically over centuries of compounding common law. This renders any immediate parallel futile. Admittedly, the use of my oft-quoted line, “to date no international charter or respected constitution supports abortion,” will now have to be modified, but this, if anything, will drive us all deeper in referring back to the word of God as our supreme authority rather than man-made rules.

Secondly, it’s not the first time France has been experimental in its laws to ill effect. Following the French revolution in July 1789, and the forming of the first French Republic in 1792, the British abolitionists were very excited about the prospect of a truly equal society and its ramifications for slaves. In fact, they were so excited they even sent Thomas Clarkson to France to network and form fruitful alliances. However, as things progressed, and heads began to roll, it soon became clear that the ideologies of the revolutionaries may work well on paper but less in practice. Likewise, the notion of bodily autonomy sounds great until you get into the nuts and bolts of whose body is actually poisoned, decapitated, and disemboweled in every abortion procedure. Heads are already rolling, adding constitutional protection to this is not going to help. Other factors are also at play.

Faced, like Britain, with the dual problem of a native population that is under-reproducing (World in Data states that the French reproduction ratio is 1.9, it should be 2.1, Britain is 1.8), it was not far from the truth that the satirical website - The Abortionist referred to their decision as “Liberté, égalité, Stupidité”.

Yet it is in this folly that Britain has its greatest opportunity. As the proverb warns:

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

Make no mistake, we are no less puffed up than our French neighbours, no less in need of humbling from God. After all, our current abortion limit is over two times those of the French! Yet what we can see here is an utter resistance to the facts and stubborn desire to double down on ideals that are costing lives. Our research finds that when normal people are confronted with the facts the opposite happens.

With both pro-life and pro-abortion amendments lodged in our criminal justice bill, the question is will we act likewise or God-wise.