In case you missed it, yesterday marked an exciting new chapter in French reproductive rights. Thanks to a new law that came into effect on April 1, women no longer have to pay to terminate a pregnancy and minors won't need to use up all their pocket money in order to afford their birth control. Although this sounds too good to be true, it ain't no April Fools.
According to France 24, increasing reproductive justice was one of François Hollande's main campaign promises during the past election. Under his new bill, women are now entitled to a full reimbursement for the cost of their abortion and girls aged 15-18 are also guaranteed free birth control (both for the contraceptive pill and the implant).
When the bill passed in October, the Minister of Health, Marisol Touraine, explained that it was a "public health choice" and she took the opportunity to remind people that abortion is "never a trivial act" for women.
Since increasing access to birth control has consistently shown to reduce abortion rates, French authorities are expecting to see a drop the amount of women requiring abortions now that the law is effective. For those of you that are already rolling up your sleeves and jumping to the comment section to proclaim that free abortions will increase the incidence of abortions, let me stop you right there.
Access to free, legal and safe abortions does not, has not and will never increase pregnancy termination rates in the long-term. Unlike soda refils, abortion does not become more attractive when it's free. Abortion is not an attractive choice, it's a really difficult one. Abortions aren't like half price easter chocolates, women don't run out and get them because they're on sale (easter chocolate sale? WHERE? WHERE?). They get them because they need them, and that's why the government should be concerned with provinding affordable and safe access to them.
What do you think about France's new commitment to women's reproductive health?
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