April 1 marked the beginning of free abortion in France (no fooling!). As mandated by the new law, the country will now reimburse all abortions 100 percent, as well as provide free contraception for girls ages 15-18.
The law also doubles the fees paid to hospitals that provide abortions, as incentive to perform the procedure at more facilities. France previously paid 80 per cent of the fees for abortions for women 18 and older, and 65 per cent of the cost of contraception for girls ages 15-18.
However, some think that the law doesn’t go far enough. Abortions are still only legal within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy—unless the mother or child are in danger—and contraceptives are limited to first- and second-generation pills, implants and sterilization; other birth control methods such as condoms are not included in the law. Plus, contraceptives are still not free for women above 18.
The measure comes as part of President François Hollande’s 2012 campaign promise that he would make it easier for women to access abortions. The president has been staying true to his campaign promises, supporting marriage equality in addition to women’s reproductive rights. France is treating reproductive rights as a health issue rather than a moral one entangled in religion or politics.