French lawmakers voted on Friday to completely pay for all abortions and to have contraceptives be free for minors, The Associated Press reports.
Currently, abortions are completely paid for minors and low-income women, while others are reimbursed for up to 80 percent of the cost. The national medical insurance, which is highly-privatized, pays for the cost, The Atlanticreports.
Abortions in France can cost as much as €450 ($580). Contraception is partially reimbursed under the law now.
The National Assembly passed the bill to make all abortions free and also to pay for contraception for those aged between 15 and 18:
“Women who want to stop an unwanted pregnancy have the right to be covered: The enactment of the right to choose to halt a pregnancy is an obligatory state service.”
The bill now goes to the Senate, where it will likely be passed.
Some groups argue the only hindrance to abortion access is the price. Also, the same groups say not enough doctors offer the procedure and little information is provided. Reimbursement for abortions would not exceed €450, although some health providers charge more for the procedure.
Some members of French society openly disagree with abortions, although very infrequently do such issues receive media attention.
Very few countries in Europe allow for minors to have abortions without parental consent, France being one of them. In 1988, France was the first country to introduce RU-486, which detaches an embryo from the uterine wall to terminate pregnancies.
RU-486 is different than the “morning-after pill” in the United States, which works by inhibiting ovulation or fertilization. According to medical terms, once a fertilized egg fastens to the wall of the uterus, pregnancy begins.