The United States government on the state and federal level is backward and archaic on women’s reproductive health. Mississippi, North Dakota, Kansas and other state legislative bodies are passing bills to derail abortions, limit access to contraception and close Planned Parenthoods. Meanwhile, France is offering the polar opposite.
Women no longer have to piece together monies to terminate pregnancies or access birth control. The French government has passed legislation guaranteeing 100 percent reimbursement of abortion costs for all women and offering free birth control (the pill and the vaginal implant) to teenagers ages 15-to-18.
According to France 24, reproductive justice was one of President François Hollande’s campaign promises. He ran and won on a promise to extend healthcare services for women in an effort to reduce the 12,000 abortions happening annually in France.
The bill was initially passed in October. At the time, France’s Minister of Health, Marisol Touraine, explained that this was landmark legislation. She also reminded us all that abortion is “never a trivial act” for women and that it should be regarded as a private health choice with major public health implications.
Elizabeth Plank, writer for PolicyMic, regards the legislation positively because abortion is a decision that haunts many women.
“Access to free, legal and safe abortions does not, has not and will never increase pregnancy termination rates. Unlike soda refills, 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 providing affordable and safe access to them,” she writes.
While France progresses, the United States continues to regres on family planning policy.