“I believe that the ideals of the extreme right are coming back,” worries writer Annie Ernaux

The writer Annie Ernaux, invited Wednesday on France Inter, regrets the recent controversies surrounding the inclusion of the right to abortion in the Constitution.


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Novelist Annie Ernaux at the Berlin Literature Festival, August 8, 2022. (STEFAN BONESS/IPON/SIPA)

“I believe that the ideals of the extreme right are returning, including women’s bellies”the writer Annie Ernaux, 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature, expressed concern on Wednesday February 14, on France Inter, while the Senate Law Committee examines the bill aimed at constitutionalizing the voluntary termination of pregnancy.

The senators decided to “do not object” to the inclusion of abortion in the Constitution, despite “a certain number of irritants” which will be debated in public session at the end of February, according to the text’s rapporteur Agnès Canayer.

To justify her point, Annie Ernaux points to the term “rearmament” used by Emmanuel Macron during his press conference on January 16. This means for her that he “France must have children”. “I believe that women have shown enough that they want this right,” insists the novelist. She hopes that this right “will be enshrined in the Constitution”. “This seems extremely necessary to me.”

“By what right !”

Annie Ernaux also protests against Gérard Larcher’s position. In mid-January, the President of the Senate said he was opposed to the fact that the right to voluntary termination of pregnancy was enshrined in the Constitution. “No, because I do not think that abortion is threatened in our country”had justified Gérard Larcher.

“By what right !”says Annie Ernaux. “This sir, what does a man know about a woman’s body, about a woman’s desire to have or not to have a child?” Gérard Larcher had notably explained on franceinfo that he wanted to prevent the Constitution from becoming “a catalog of social and societal rights”. “I am outraged, because it means that somehow, it will never be acquired”worries the novelist.

Annie Ernaux would like to recall the words of Simone Veil, who passed the law authorizing abortion in France 50 years ago. “I believe that Simone Veil was very clear when she said, in front of this assembly of men, that they had to understand. It was not to them that this was happening, that she was obliged to say that ‘a woman didn’t do that for pleasure.’ The Senate, with a right-wing majority, will vote on February 28 on the constitutionalization of abortion.

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