The issue of women’s rights in the Constitutional Treaty must be considered, since it has not been achieved - not even in Europe. After all, our continent continues to pay less to women than to men. The study of the Constitution demands rigor and honesty. The texts of the past are of little importance, what we are speaking of is the future - and let us keep in mind how difficult it was to get equality between men and women approved as a value in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Unfortunately, that charter does not have any mandatory force.
But things more worrisome still exist. In its Article II-62.1, the Constitutional Treaty solemnly proclaims the right to life, a right used by the opponents of women’s’ equality to fight against the right to abortion. Recently, we can recall, a deputy attempted to grant fetuses the rights of people. To mention the jurisprudence that had to be defeated hardly convinces us. By definition, jurisprudence evolves. We are told, so as to calm us, that that passage only has the objective of prohibiting the death penalty, but the following article precisely specifies “No one can be given the death penalty, nor executed.” It is necessary to hail this prohibition, but it is unfortunate that the Constitution does not absolutely prevent the prohibition of the voluntary termination of pregnancy.
That right to life statement demands a response: the recognition of the right of women to give one. There is much more, in terms of all the “open, transparent and just dialogue with Churches...” (Art. I-52), preached by the Constitution, since at whatever moment this concerns the laity. Let us remember that abortion continues to be prohibited in five member countries: Portugal, Ireland, Poland, Cyprus and Malta (Malta insists upon it in an additional protocol). With our solidarity with women of those countries, and thanks to the “clause of the most favored Europe,” everything could change. The association Choisir-La Cause des femmes Causes [Side with the Women’s Cause] has defended this clause since 1978 and supported it even prior to the European administration in Brussels. We request that the European Union create a single status for women based on the most elevated rights in each country. It is a shame that the old dream of European feminists is not being carried out. Rather, as the text states, “The European legal framework does not imply the harmonization of laws and regulations of the members states” (Art. III-207).
On the contrary, the hymn to liberalism will affect women more harshly than men. The Constitution provides for 81% of work as part time jobs, and women directly suffer the precariousness of employment, its instability. This constitution contains threats and traps for women. It is necessary to say “NO” to it, to unlock the future and build another Europe.

Le Monde (France)

The Constitutional Treaty, a Threat to Woman,” by Gisèle Halimi, Le Monde, May 18, 2005.