Beginning yesterday, France will provide access to free birth control for teenaged girls ages 15 to 18 without parental notification, as well as reimburse the cost of abortions to all women over age 18.
Pinch me. Am I dreaming? It’s not still April Fools’ Day, right?
This sounds like a reproductive rights utopia in terms of affordable access to family planning. Free access to contraception (specifically, birth control pills and implants) means any teen girl, regardless of her income level or her parents’ opinions on her sexuality, can plan her pregnancies. Thus, it will ideally reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies for teen girls and encourage them to complete their educations and pursue careers before raising families. The lack of parental notification (or parental permission) is really key here in terms of putting the agency for teen girls’ reproductive choices in their own hands.
Reimbursement for abortions means a woman will no longer have to forgo an abortion because of the hefty cost; it means a reduction in the amount of unwanted pregnancies and thus unwanted children for everyone. Presently, France has around 12,000 abortions per year.
France approved the law last year; it was a promise of President Francois Hollande during his presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, in America, such a sensible family planning policy and unfettered access to contraception for women regardless of income level remains a pipe dream.
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