Fighting unequal access to abortion deserves better than political postures

Could it be an effect of the entry on the scene of Valérie Pécresse? Forty-eight hours after the victory in the primary of the right of the president (Les Républicains, LR) of the Ile-de-France region, it is a traditional marker of the left that Emmanuel Macron has put forward. After opposing it twice, the Head of State conceded earlier this week that a bill on voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion), which provides for extending the time limits for recourse to the abortion of twelve to fourteen weeks of pregnancy, be included by the government on the agenda of the Senate in January, unblocking the parliamentary process and paving the way for a possible final adoption by the end of the five-year term.

The deputies had freed themselves a few days earlier from the reluctance of the executive, divided on the text, by adopting it at second reading, on November 30, after the Minister of Health Olivier Véran was said to be in favor. ” personally “.

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In the National Assembly, as always when it comes to abortion, the two days of discussions which preceded the adoption of the bill brought by the member (ex-La République en Marche, Val-de-Marne ) Albane Gaillot were the occasion for a game of postures. With, on the one hand, the conservative camp, self-proclaimed defender of women’s health and the “rights of the unborn child”, and, on the other, the progressive camp, determined to defend for its part the rights of women. women to dispose of their bodies.

In the Chamber, the most virulent opponents of any attack on the sacrosanct “balance” of the Veil law have peppered their arguments with technical descriptions intended to shock. Anthology: “At fourteen weeks, [le fœtus] measures 120 millimeters and its head is ossified, which means that the fetus must be cut into pieces ” (Patrick Hetzel, Bas-Rhin, LR) ; “You should know that at this stage of pregnancy, the size of the fetus imposes its laceration and that the consequences for the woman can be of the heaviest” (Marie-France Lorho, Vaucluse, not listed); “This operation consists of shredding and vacuuming the remains” (Agnès Thill, Oise, Union of Democrats and Independents).

“Difficult treatment path”

For his part, Albane Gaillot deemed it useful to plead, from the general discussion, for “A step aside”. “We are legislators and not doctors”, she recalled, relying however on the positive opinion issued in December 2020 by the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE) concerning the extension of deadlines. The body, requested by the government during the first reading of the bill, had in fact estimated, in December 2020, that this modification would facilitate the use of abortion for some of the 1,500 to 2,000 women (from 3 000 to 5,000 according to Family Planning) forced each year to travel abroad to have an abortion, for lack of being able to do so on time.

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Fighting unequal access to abortion deserves better than political postures