Featured Image
 Really American/X

(LifeSiteNews) — An “explosion of joy” – as the mainstream media termed it – welcomed the announcement that 780 out of 902 Senators and National Assembly members had just voted to “enshrine” the legal killing of unborn babies in the French constitution, this Monday afternoon, as hundreds of feminist activists who had joined a public demonstration in favor of abortion at the Trocadéro, opposite the Eiffel Tower on the right bank of the Seine, screamed with delight.

At the same moment, the Eiffel tower itself was illuminated with hundreds of sparkling lights while a short message lit up on its facade: “Mon corps, mon choix (“My body, my choice”). Crying, cheering, laughing and dancing to the sound of ABBA, the demonstrators reacted as if a major victory had just been won over some terrible ill. But they were celebrating the symbolic victory of death over life, with a glee that can only be called demonic. 

One shudders to think of the consequences. In Catholic eyes, this is surely a crime that cries out to Heaven for vengeance: the crime of killing the innocent which is now presented as a good, a freedom, a justified liberty, which deserves to be inked into the constitution as being somehow part of the French Republic’s identity card which lays the ground on which civil life is constructed. 

No one is pretending anymore that legal abortion is a last possible recourse in a dramatic situation, something that must be avoided due to the harm it does to women who are often pushed towards “voluntary interruption of pregnancy,” as it is called in France, by their family or by their child’s father threatening to leave them if they do not do away with it. No: now that having recourse to elective abortion has become a constitutionally protected “freedom,” things have become horribly clear: abortion is an absolute, something no one can prevent a woman from having, albeit within the framework determined by the law, and it is indeed considered to be the ultimate expression of her freedom and “equality” with men, as some of the women on the Trocadéro told journalists covering the event. 

There was never any real suspense regarding the vote, which is why all the paraphernalia of the “victory” celebration had been prepared well in advance. More than 85 percent of the legislators voted for the constitutional change recognizing women’s “guaranteed freedom to have recourse to voluntary interruption of pregnancy,” after both Chambers had separately adopted bills to that effect with overwhelming majorities. Only a gigantic miracle could have overturned the majority: only 512 votes in favor were required in order to obtain the legal majority of 3/5 required to amend the constitution. 50 voters abstained and 72 voted against. The situation has reached a point where such opposition to legal abortion is deemed to be quite courageous, even though the few parliamentarians who took the step were careful to say that it was because the “right” to abortion is in no way under threat in France. This is the weakest argument possible; but at least these opponents have been willing to stick out their necks even though opposing abortion as such from far or from near is the equivalent of a political death sentence in France. 

While it is not probable that there will be a spectacular rise in abortions because of their constitutionalization – the number of abortions in France has already hit unknown heights despite extremely widespread “contraceptive coverage” – the symbolic impact of the constitutional amendment cannot be underestimated. Until now, and even if it was practically treated as such, abortion was not considered as a fully fledged legal right in France, leaving a flimsy hope that the situation could be reversed, despite massive support for the killing of unborn children. Turning it into a fundamental freedom as protected by the constitution has pushed the inversion of good and evil a great deal further, officially proclaiming France (or rather, the French Republic) to be part and parcel of the culture of death.  

In the special “hemicycle” built in the south wing of the palace of Versailles in the 19th century to accommodate parliamentary congress, there were also scenes of celebration after all the voters had solemnly cast their ballot and the results were proclaimed, with a standing ovation. The question of the right of a conceived child to remain alive and protected during its natural development in the womb was not even broached upon during the declarations prior to the vote. Even the representative of the so-called right-wing Rassemblement national, Hélène Laporte, explained that her group would allow its members to vote “in conscience” but that it favored adopting the text, adding that “under no circumstances would it be possible to go back on the freedom” to abort. She even went so far as to deplore that the European Parliament had some time ago named a female president who was not clear about this “freedom.” 

President Emmanuel Macron hailed the news with a message on X: “French pride, universal message. Together, let us celebrate the entry of a new guaranteed freedom into the Constitution by the first ever sealing ceremony in our history open to the public. See you on March 8, International Women’s Rights Day.”

The “sealing” of the new amendment will take place at noon on Friday on the place Vendôme in Paris, which besides prestigious jewelers’ shops houses the French ministry of Justice. 

Macron himself was not present at the parliamentary congress because of the principle of separation of the legislative and executive powers. The government was represented by the new French Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, who prided himself on being a homosexual during his first policy speech several weeks ago. He obtained what looked like unanimous applause for Simone Veil, who presented France’s first ever abortion law fifty years ago – yet even she famously noted at the time that “no woman happily has an abortion” and that her law was meant for “extreme” cases. While this immediately proved to be untrue in practice, as abortions immediately topped 200,000 a year, there is no evidence that she would have approved making abortion a constitutional liberty that must evolve towards a constitutional right. 

This is now one of the main concerns of the pro-life movement. The March for Life organized the demonstration in Versailles as close to the palace as the authorities would allow. Several speakers warned that the right to conscientious objection was now under threat and had already been attacked by several left-wing legislators, such as Mathilde Panot, who has previously made clear that she hopes to overthrow doctors’ and health workers’ right not to participate in an abortion. 

Hundreds of pro-lifers joined the demonstration between 3 and 7 p.m. while the parliamentary Congress was held at the palace of Versailles, despite the fact that many could not come because of work schedules, school runs and other obligations on a Monday afternoon. Many Catholic priests, both from the ex-Ecclesia Dei communities and diocesan backgrounds were in the crowd. Notably, there was no watering down of the situation by the many public speakers at the event, who included Nicolas Tardy-Joubert of the March for Life, Jean-Marie Le Mené of the Jérôme-Lejeune Foundation, a doctor who spoke of the difficulties women face when no one is willing to listen to their suffering after an abortion, and a representative of the European Centre for Law and Justice. Here at least, no one called Simone Veil’s abortion law an example to follow, as has been the fashion for some years as the situation gets worse, and all spoke of the right to life from natural conception to natural death. 

Representing the traditional “Renaissance catholique” movement, Jean-Pierre Maugendre gave a strongly worded speech, saying: “Tomorrow, our descendants will look back on this reality with the same incredulous disbelief as we look back on the trivialization of slavery in our countries from the 16th to the 19th century. Yesterday, people unanimously considered human, because they could be baptized, were enslaved. Today, a 14-week-old embryo that nobody disputes is a baby – as all modern genetics confirm – can be killed by its mother, without the father even having a say in the matter.”

Speaking of “an appalling and widespread numbing of conscience,” Maugendre said: “‘Woe betide the city whose Prince is a child,’ Scripture tells us, and all the more so if he is capricious and narcissistic,” obviously designating those who today head the French state: a childless man married to a woman many years older than himself and a homosexual Prime Minister aged little over 30.” 

He concluded: “Committed to building a future less cruel than the present and the past, we accept, as of now, to see our words disguised by perverse ideologues to seduce gullible crowds. As Louis Veuillot announced in his day, if the coming years seem to promise us a long period of mediocre battles without apparent victory, of abasements of all kinds; if we are to be mocked, scorned, expelled from public life; if in this martyrdom of contempt we are to suffer the triumph of fools and the glory of fakers, God for his part, reserves for us a role whose fruitful and lasting greatness we will not refuse or ignore. He gives us to carry his diminished and reduced truth like an altar torch that can be placed in the hands of a child, and he commands us to brave this storm, for provided our faith does not waver, the living flame will not only not be extinguished, but will not even flicker! The earth will cover us with its dust, the ocean will spit its foam at us, we will be trampled underfoot by the beasts unleashed upon us, and we’ll get through this bad patch in human history. The little light in our torn hands will not perish. It will rekindle the divine fire, kindled by him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, illuminating with his splendor the destiny of sacrificed children, wounded women and deceived men.” 

The French Catholic Bishops’ conference called for prayer and fasting on this day, recalling the sanctity of life and also praying that the French would rediscover the joy of “giving and educating life.” 

In the diocese of Versailles, Bishop Luc Crépy ordered a statement to be read at all Sunday Masses calling on legislators to follow their conscience and “to resist political and media pressure” and recalling that “every life, however fragile, is precious.” 

A ray of hope in a tragic day came in the form of Eucharistic adoration at the parish of Notre-Dame in Versailles – the “parish of the kings of France.” The stately classical church opened its doors wide, welcoming dozens upon dozens of adorers of all ages to pray in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament, down the street from the pro-life demonstration and visible to all. Many pro-lifers took turns to pray in front of the monstrance before returning to the demonstration. As regularly, the church’s bells tolled sadly. During Benediction, the parish priest recited Pope Benedict XVI’s prayer for life. 

“We have lost a battle but not the war,” proclaimed Tardy-Joubert once the results of the vote were known. Indeed, we know that the definitive battle has already been won by the Sacred Heart of Jesus to whom the last song was sung at the end of the Adoration: “Sacred Heart of Jesus, may thy kingdom come… I trust in you.” There is no ill so great that it cannot be vanquished by Our Lord. 

Featured Image

Jeanne Smits has worked as a journalist in France since 1987 after obtaining a Master of Arts in Law. She formerly directed the French daily Présent and was editor-in-chief of an all-internet French-speaking news site called She writes regularly for a number of Catholic journals (Monde & vie, L’Homme nouveau, Reconquête…) and runs a personal pro-life blog. In addition, she is often invited to radio and TV shows on alternative media. She is vice-president of the Christian and French defense association “AGRIF.” She is the French translator of The Dictator Pope by Henry Sire and Christus Vincit by Bishop Schneider, and recently contributed to the Bref examen critique de la communion dans la main about Communion in the hand. She is married and has three children, and lives near Paris.