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Macron backs enshrining right to abortion in French constitution

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech paying homage to French feminist figure and lawyer Gisele Halimi at the Appeal Court

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday he backed including the right to abortion in the constitution, a move he said would send a signal of solidarity to women around the world.

Macron made the announcement on International Women's Day at a ceremony to honour Tunisian-born French feminist and lawyer Gisele Halimi, who died in 2020 aged 93. She was a staunch defender of the right to abortion.

"I hope the strength of this message helps us change our constitution and enshrine in it the freedom of women to seek an abortion ... so that nothing can hinder nor unravel what will be irreversible," Macron said.

This will "send a universal message of solidarity to all the women who today see this freedom crushed", he said.

The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court last June overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognised women's constitutional right to abortion.

Both houses of the French parliament have already voted in favour of enshrining the right in the constitution, although the Senate termed it a "freedom" and the National Assembly a "right" to abortion.

Macron said a bill would be submitted to parliament to change the constitution in the coming months.

In a landmark case in 1972, Halimi won the acquittal of a minor who was on trial for abortion after becoming pregnant through rape.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Alison Williams)