The French National Assembly voted 135-47 Wednesday in favor of extending the legal limit for ending a pregnancy from 12 to 14 weeks.
While the bill was first put forward to lawmakers in October 2022 by MP Albane Gaillot, a year of parliamentary rows slowed down the progression of the bill.
The bill marks the first time in 21 years the time limit on abortion has been extended in France. After initially becoming legalized for up to 10 weeks in 1975, it was extended to 12 weeks in 2001.
According to Socialist MP Marie-Noëlle Battistel, around 2,000 women are forced each year to go abroad to have an abortion due to the tight legal deadlines in France.
France now joins Spain, Hungary, and Austria where the legal limit for terminating a pregnancy is also up to 14 weeks. However, this new time frame is still lower than that of other European countries, such as the Netherlands at 22 and the UK at 24 weeks.
The bill’s enactment marks one of the last votes in President Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term ahead of the April election. The extension follows Macron’s statement last month to the European Parliament calling for abortion to be added to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.