France to offer free birth control for all women up to 25 | News | DW | 09.09.2021

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France to offer free birth control for all women up to 25

The French health minister said young women had the right to contraception even if they could not afford it. Previously, birth control was only available for free to girls 18 and younger.

Birth control pills

The French plan would extend freely available contraception to 18-25-year-old women, not just under-18s

France's Health Minister Olivier Veran announced during an interview on Thursday that soon, all women 25 and younger will be able to get the birth control pill and other means of contraception for free. 

"It is unbearable that women cannot protect themselves, cannot have access to contraception if they want to make that choice because it is too expensive," Veran told France 2 television.

The move comes as President Emmanuel Macron is trying to collect domestic victories ahead of national elections next year.

Contraceptive access correlates to drop in abortions

Previously, contraception was only completely free, regardless of insurance, to women 18 and younger. Since introducing this measure in 2013, newspaper Le Monde reported, the rate of abortions among teenage girls dropped significantly.

Veran said that the age of 25 was determined because it was the age at which young women can no longer be covered by their parents' health insurance, and that more "independence" is assumed in terms of "social and financial" development. He added that data showed a decline in use of the birth control pill once it was no longer free.

The health minister said that the plan would cost 21 million euros ($24.8 million) a year, but did not say how much the government and individuals would save in avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

The plan will go into effect on January 1, Veran told France 2.

es/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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