France

Inclusion of abortion in the Constitution: “Good parliamentary work”, for MP Erwan Balanant – France



How did you arrive at this amendment which allowed this favorable vote of the deputies to the inscription of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in the Constitution?

This is work on which I have worked for a long time and I also chair the law commission which deals with constitutional issues.

Initially, there were two texts proposing the constitutionalization of abortion, one by Aurore Bergé (Renaissance) and the other by Mathilde Panot (LFI). I worked on both by making proposals as soon as they passed through the committee, with amendments which seemed to me to be more accomplished than the first versions of these texts.

At the end of the committee, I proposed to all the political groups to work around a transpartisan amendment which was finally tabled on Thursday by deputies from each of these groups.

It’s a bit technical but there were two versions: the first related to Article 1 of the Constitution and the second planned to create a new Article 66-2.

The first version would have been ideal for me, but we knew that the senators were not in favor of it. However, the vote of the Senate is necessary in a process of constitutional revision.

I therefore proposed to a colleague to sub-amend my own amendment to move it from Article 1 to Article 66-2. This is how we reached this agreement with the political groups in favor of this text which declares that “the law guarantees the effectiveness and equal access to the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy”.

To me, that is good parliamentary work. This is proof that, on important subjects, it is possible to reach consensus. It’s not nothing: if we go to the end

France will be the first country to include the right to abortion in its Constitution, which represents a strong message sent to all those who would like to question it.

The debates that followed on Thursday focused on the reintegration of nursing staff not vaccinated against covid-19 in health establishments. These debates were stormy and the LFI bill along these lines could not be put to the vote for lack of time. The rebels accuse the majority of having played for time and practiced obstruction by filing 200 amendments at the last moment. Were you still in session?

Yes, until the end. And frankly, it’s the hospital that doesn’t give a damn about charity because mass tabling of amendments is a specialty of La France insoumise.

For example, no later than last week, on the orientation and programming law of the Ministry of the Interior, the rebellious deputies tabled a series of ten strictly identical amendments, with the exception of a clarification of a few pennies… They don’t have a lesson to give us.

You should know that most of those of the majority on this text were tabled late for a good reason: this bill on the reintegration of nursing staff should not have been discussed in session if LFI had respected the program of twelve texts that his parliamentary niche provided.

It was only discussed in the Hemicycle in the evening because LFI withdrew, during the day, several of its other texts, such as the one on the ban on bullfighting. The government, which did not want this text to be voted on, therefore had to do so in order to oppose it, as explained by the two ministers who spoke during the session.

It tensed the debates in a rather intolerable way but I think that the Insoumis needed this balance after concluding an agreement with us on abortion…

Let us return to the question of parliamentary amendments which are often criticized for their number. In your opinion, should the number or use be limited?

These amendments are the parliamentarian’s main tool. They represent his ability to legislate, to transform a text… It is an absolute right for him.

Our debates are already sufficiently organized so that, when we find ourselves faced with many identical amendments, we can police things a bit to avoid wasting too much time.

We should still be able to improve things, but going back on the right of parliamentarians to amend the texts presented to them seems unthinkable to me!

* In order to be included in the Constitution, the text must first be voted on in the same terms by the Senate, then be ratified by the French people by referendum.

letelegramme Fr Trans

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