Decriminalising abortion for pregnant women: High Commissioner delivers opinion to National Council

Decriminalising abortion for pregnant women: High Commissioner delivers opinion to National Council

25 September 2019

The High Commissioner was consulted by the President of the National Council regarding the bill on decriminalising abortion for pregnant women. The bill was submitted by the Government in August 2019 and contains identical provisions to those included in the proposed text adopted unanimously by the elected members of the National Council on 12 June 2019. The High Commissioner delivered her opinion on the bill on 25 September 2019, and it has been published on the National Council’s website.

The High Commissioner had cause to be disappointed that this text, which decriminalises abortion for pregnant women who resort to the procedure while maintaining the ban on it being practised by any healthcare professional in the Principality, is purely symbolic in scope, and will not in itself result in any genuine progress for women or girls who find themselves dealing with an unwanted pregnancy. Tomorrow, like yesterday, they will continue to be forced to cross the border to undergo an abortion under proper medical supervision.

In terms of substance, it should be noted that abortion and access to contraception are key basic tools for empowering women. The availability of abortion, in parallel with the focus which must be placed on prevention policies, contributes to gender equality and to the right of every woman to respect for her physical integrity and dignity.

However, acknowledging the essentially political dimension of this debate in the Principality and the consensus which exists between the Government and Council to go no further on this issue for the time being, the High Commissioner insisted on the need, at the very least, to provide better support for women and underage girls who wish to access abortion in France, by opening up the opportunity, in future, for the procedure to be reimbursed by the social security funds. This is essential to achieve social justice and to prevent people from taking risks.

Please click here to view the High Commissioner’s opinion.