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(LifeSiteNews) — At the close of a parliamentary shuttle of more than 18 months, the French National Assembly voted to make abortion on demand legal up to 14 weeks’ gestation, two weeks more than the previous time limit.

The legislation was introduced in August 2020 as a member’s bill by former presidential LREM Party representative Albane Gaillot of the Environmentalist Party, but it received practical support from the French government.

Almost simultaneously, a government decree perpetuated temporary dispositions by which women can get a chemical abortion at home after a tele-consultation with a doctor.

The Gaillot bill received 135 of 182 votes (a majority of the 577 National Assembly members were not present), with only 47 voting against.

Legislator Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate for the “Rassemblement national,” while expressing her opposition to the lengthening of the legal time limit, was among those absent from the chamber, as were most of the members of the small National Assembly group to which they belong. Le Pen went on record Tuesday saying she favors the “right” to abortion and has always done so.

The protection of unborn life is certainly not of great concern to the members of France’s major political parties. While the right-wing majority Senate steadfastly fought the text over the last 1 ½ years, its only objective was to maintain the status quo, which allowed “voluntary interruption of pregnancy,” as it is called in France, up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

That stance held up the legislative process for many months after the bill was adopted twice by the National Assembly and both times rejected by the Senate. Under the French parliamentary system, a consensus can be sought between the two chambers, but the National Assembly will have the upper hand. It was this last say by the lower chamber that took place Thursday, with predictable results: The extreme left and a large number of LREM members and centrists voted for for 14-week abortion.

During the weeks preceding this final debate, many doctors who are otherwise favorable to abortion on demand voiced their strong opposition to the bill, saying that at 14 weeks the unborn baby’s head has ossified, making it necessary to crush its skull and also dismember it in order to perform a surgical “termination.”

Israel Nisand, president of the National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians of France (CNGOF), gave a graphic description of the procedure to the mainstream daily Le Monde, adding, “You can therefore understand that many professionals find it quite difficult to perform.” Others said the problem was not “technical” but “psychological.”

A left-wing magazine, L’Obs, published an opinion piece by a group of doctors who said an abortion is not fundamentally different at 12 or 14 weeks of pregnancy. Their leader, Sophie Gaudu, who specializes in obstetrics and family planning, argued that even before the 12-week term, abortion requires “dilaceration” and the “extraction of fragments.”

Whether an abortion is performed right after fertilization, at 10, 12, 14 weeks or more, the same thing is happening: an unborn human being, however small or however developed, is killed and extracted from the sanctuary of its mother’s womb. If doctors balk at doing late abortions, it’s because the humanity of the unborn baby becomes more and more visible and evident as the pregnancy moves to its term, and the realization of what is actually happening becomes more acute.

On several occasions, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that he was not in favor of adding two weeks to the legal time limit. Upon his return from a visit to Pope Francis last autumn, he stated that “additional time is not neutral with regard to a woman’s trauma.” In July, he had said, “Abortion is an immense victory for women and men, for the dignity and humanity of all. But I realize the trauma of having an abortion.” These words triggered angry protests from liberal and feminist circles.

Pro-life groups have underscored the president’s “hypocrisy,” however, pointing out that Macron gave Parliament free rein over the matter even though throughout his mandate the LREM party has been expected to vote according to the wishes of the president and his executive.

While the legislation was getting stuck in the parliamentary process, Christophe Castaner, head of the LREM group and former interior minister, made certain the bill would be submitted for a vote at the National Assembly by giving it the party’s support. The government itself got the process to go forward through the Senate in time for this Wednesday’s definitive vote.

It will be one of the last major decisions made by the Assembly before it goes into recess at the approach of the presidential election in April, followed by legislative elections in June, at which time the Assembly will resume its sittings.

Consensus regarding access to abortion is unfortunately wide in France. Even Eric Zemmour, the right-wing “outsider” who is disrupting the presidential election campaign, calls abortion a “tragedy for every woman who resorts to it; but it’s a right.” “And I absolutely don’t want to go back on that right,” he said.

In France, it is practically impossible to hope to obtain a spot in the political world as a presidential candidate without bowing to the “idol” of abortion. Not a single candidate running for the upcoming election has come out as pro-life.

“Right-wing” candidate Valérie Pécresse – who has condoned all current freedom-killing COVID restrictions and vaccine passports in France – deplored the lengthening of the abortion time limit as “a way of escaping ahead of the real problem: access to abortion centers, gynecologists and midwives … We need to guarantee women’s freedom of choice,” she said.

The reason given for the vote was that every year some 2,000 women are “obliged” to have abortions in Spain or the Netherlands, where the act is legal up to 14 weeks and 22 weeks, respectively, either because they realize they are pregnant too late after “contraceptive failure,” because they are from “underprivileged backgrounds,” or because their circumstances have changed, turning a desired pregnancy into an unwanted one.

For the same reason, other dispositions were included in the new legislation to make access to abortion easier. As soon as the bill goes into effect, midwives will be allowed to perform surgical abortions in the same way as doctors. A directory of doctors, medical personnel and facilities offering abortion will be made available, and a two-day “cooling-off” period after a “psycho-social consultation” that women can have before an abortion has been scrapped.

Olivier Véran, France’s health minister, hailed the vote on Twitter: “At a time when many countries are challenging this fundamental right for women, I am proud that France should have reaffirmed and extended it.”

Véran signed a decree earlier this week perpetuating a measure set up by the government at the beginning of France’s first lockdown in March 2020 allowing the prescription of abortive pills after a single video consultation with a general practitioner or midwife. And the limit for chemical abortions was set at seven weeks of gestation rather than five, as was previously the case.

This extension of abortion “rights” was explained away by the “sanitary state of emergency” and its entry into the realm of permanent health regulations was approved by the “Haute autorité de santé,” the “Higher Health Authority,” in April 2021. One of the objectives was to “ease pressure” on hospitals to give them better opportunity to practice surgical abortions.

Under the new rules, doctors and midwives may prescribe abortive pills via the Internet and these will be delivered by main-street pharmacies with the objective of preserving the woman’s “privacy” or “anonymity” if required.

All of the new rules and laws are making abortion more commonplace and creating the conditions for an increasing number of abortions in France. Approximately 220,000 abortions occur each year in France, despite wide “contraceptive coverage.”

Under Macron’s watch, the meager barriers left in place in favor of the life of the unborn were dismantled, and now abortion will be even easier to obtain.