France extends abortion deadline — Analysis

Nation’s health minister called the move a step towards “pragmatism and equality”

The French parliament has voted in favor of extending the country’s abortion deadline from 12 to 14 weeks, bringing it in line with Spain and Austria. It is however still far behind other European countries, as the UK has a 24 week time limit.

This legislation was approved by 135 to 47 votes on Wednesday. It will allow midwives to also perform the procedure. Olivier Veran, Health Minister, described this move as an important step toward greater health. “pragmatism and equality.”

“Today is an important day for sexual and reproductive health, and an important day for women’s health,” Veran declared.

This bill gives citizens more time to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. It was partly passed in response to the closing of many abortion clinics and a lack of doctors. 

France24 reports that more than 130 abortion centers were shut down between 2001 and 2011. France24 claims that 3000 French women were forced to leave their country each year because of the earlier deadline.

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The law also gets rid of a two-day reflection period and establishes a directory of health officials who can perform the procedure.

It had been initially proposed by the opposition MP Albane Gaillot but passed with support from President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! party.

Presidential candidate Valérie Pécresse condemned the move as a “headlong rush that distracts from the real problem,”However, he urged parliament to take action. “the access to abortion centers [and] the lack of gynecologists and midwives.”

Kantar polls in 2021 revealed that 80 percent of French citizens supported the extension.

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