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French President Emmanuel Macron Sean Gallup/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — News spread earlier this month that the French Parliament established a “right” to abortion in the country’s constitution. “France makes abortion a constitutional right,” read the BBC headline. CNN sang the same tune with “France becomes world’s first country to enshrine abortion rights in constitution.”

What some may call a compromise in France can only be understood as a disaster for the protection of preborn life. This constitutional amendment attempts to impede pro-life advocacy and quelch the political imagination of those in France who are still committed to the protection of preborn life.

Though this amendment can be undone with another three-fifths majority, the purpose of the coordinated media campaign announcing a shattered glass ceiling in France and the inauguration of constitutional protection for permissive abortion laws is to discourage the French people and their allies around the country from continuing the fight for the preborn.

France limits abortion on demand at 14 weeks, but this does not provide significant protection for preborn life. According to 2023 research from the research firm KFF, 96% of preborn children snuffed out by abortion in the United States were 15 weeks old or younger. Though data on gestational maturity in French research does not come up to 2023, it would not be difficult to suppose that the situation is similar in France.

The legislators who voted in favor of the French amendment, especially those who have been previously hesitant to strip rights for the preborn, have done a shameful disservice to the citizens they were elected to protect. On a deeper analysis, the success of this constitutional amendment was not only a miscarriage of justice but a fundamental lie. Because the right to life is a natural one, one written on every human heart, and one knowable by reason and conscience. Our basic right as innocents not to be killed cannot be taken away by any government or superseded by an allegedly higher claim.

This is precisely why the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) after the horrors of World War II. The UDHR’s observes that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” Article I declares that all human beings are “free and equal in dignity and rights” and “endowed with reason and conscience.” Article II clarifies that our rights and freedoms are truly universal, “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex… birth, or other status.” Finally, Article III affirms the human right to life itself as the first and most foundational of all rights: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” France’s decision to constitutionalize abortion puts it directly at odds with the UDHR as a matter of international law.

Because natural law supersedes any unjust positive laws, we can confidently stand with the likes of St. Augustine in saying that this amendment to the French constitution constitutes no true law at all.

When pro-abortion politicians gathered to write the words of the amendment into their nation’s constitution, the pro-abortion change to the letter of the law did not change the natural spirit of the law, which always points toward justice. Emmanuel Macron’s signature effectively sharpened the contradictions of our late modern liberal democracies, which attempt to speak of both a universal human right to life and a universal “human right” to kill the innocent.

France’s constitutional deception will nevertheless have grave consequences for the nation’s preborn children. The death of every innocent person, in a nation whose fertility is already well below replacement rate, saps France’s vitality: the country’s fertility rate most recently stood at 1.68 children per woman of childbearing age, according to the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. How can such a nation survive?

America learned from the tragic constitutional error that was Roe v. Wade. Yet Roe warped our hearts, and America’s international influence is much of the reason for this latest constitutional error in France. Evidently, we all have a long way to go before we recognize that our natural desire for justice must mean constitutional equal protection for every member of the human family.

John Mize is CEO of Americans United for Life.