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France's lower house approves free abortion for women

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 29th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In a stunning move, the lower house has approved a measure that will fully reimburse women who seek abortions. In addition, the house has also approved a measure to provide free contraception to teenagers aged between 15 and 18 years old. The bill will now go to France's Upper House.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Presently, French women can only claim back between 70 and 80 percent for the operation, which can cost up to 450 euros.

The move to full reimbursement is designed to improve women's access to abortions. The measure was included in the 2013 social security budget and was a specific campaign promise of President Francois Hollande.

France ostensibly hopes to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions by providing free contraception.

The measure was warmly welcomed by Martine Hatchuel, president of ANCIC, the French Association which counsels women on contraception and abortion. "It's about time," she has declared.

"Minors should have access to contraception and it should be free and anonymous. But unfortunately just because a girl reaches 18 doesn't mean she is out of the woods, and we would like to see this extended to women aged 25."

These measures are estimated to cost the French taxpayer 31.7 million euros in the first year. Some 225,000 abortions were carried out in France in 2010, the last year for which records are available.

These measures have been met with criticism by some groups that complain price is only one hurdle to abortion access, with too few doctors offering the procedure and a lack of information about who does.

While some segments of French society oppose the right to abortion, the issue rarely makes headlines. France is among the European countries that allow minors to have abortions without parental consent, and in 1988, was the first country to introduce RU-486 -- the \"morning after pill\" -- which terminates pregnancy by causing the embryo to detach from the uterine wall.

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