France Passes Law that Covers Abortions and Contraceptives

Health Minister Marisol Touraine.Photo:

Health Minister Marisol Touraine.

A bill that makes abortions and contraceptives free for all French women went into effect on April 1, after being initially passed in October of 2012. This success is a huge victory for Francois Hollande’s government as increasing reproductive justice for French women was one of the main promises he made during his presidential campaign.

Under this new law, women will be reimbursed if they undergo an abortion, and girls ages 15 to 18 are guaranteed free birth control. This historic measure for women’s rights in France echoes a similar ruling in the States which struck down the age limit for the Morning After pill.

Evidence has shown that increased access to birth control has consistently been linked to a decrease in abortions. Currently in France, 12,000 such procedures take place each year, and the Minister of Health Marisol Touraine expects this number to decline due to the passage of this bill.

The reimbursement for abortions will be a part of the 2013 social security budget and aims to increase a woman’s access to abortions. Before, the procedure could cost up to 450 euros.

However, Touraine reminded the public that this measure is a “public health choice” and urged critics to remember that an abortion for a woman is “never a trivial act.”

Critics have expressed concern that free birth control and abortions will encourage young women to be irresponsible about sex. By offering young women the protection they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies, France hopes for the exact opposite to occur and expects the number of unwanted pregnancies to decrease.

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