Parliamentary report recommends extending access to abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy

The National Assembly (illustrative image). – A. GELEBART / 20 MINUTES

A report proposes to push back the legal limit for performing a surgical abortion from 12 to 14 weeks pregnant. And this, to prevent access to abortion from being an “obstacle course”, reminds the delegation for women’s rights to the National Assembly.

The co-rapporteurs Marie-Noëlle Battistel (PS) and Cécile Muschotti (LREM), as well as the president of the delegation, Marie-Pierre Rixain (LREM), pleaded for an extension of the deadlines in order to guarantee “a real freedom of choice »And preserve the health of women who resort to abortion. The deputies estimate that 3 to 5,000 patients would be forced each year to travel abroad, especially to Spain and the Netherlands, in order to abort once the 12 weeks have elapsed.

Multiple obstacles for women

This provision, which is the subject of intense ethical and political debates, has already been rejected on several occasions: in May, the Senate notably refused a temporary extension of abortion periods during the duration of the coronavirus crisis. During the examination of the report, Marie-Noëlle Battistel specified that the various measures presented would be the subject of a bill, “soon tabled” by the delegation.

Another transpartisan law proposal aimed at facilitating access to abortion was also tabled by some forty deputies this summer, the Covid-19 crisis having, according to them, highlighted its “fragility”. Wandering from doctor to doctor, difficulties in obtaining appointments or the existence of “guilty speeches” are today all obstacles in access to abortion, with particularly glaring territorial inequalities in rural areas, summarizes the committee in its report.

A “fragile” right

Marie-Noëlle Battistel also called for the elimination of the conscience clause specific to abortion: without taking away the freedom of choice of practitioners, it would make it possible to avoid “stigmatizing” abortion, and would be accompanied by an obligation. to redirect the patient to another caregiver, listed in the Public Health Code.

The deputies recall that 45 years after the Veil law, passed in 1975, “this dearly and hard-won right remains fragile”, being sometimes prevented “by militant actions or by actions of voluntary disinformation”, punished since 2014 by the offense of obstruction of abortion. The number of abortions in France has been relatively stable since 2001, fluctuating each year between 225,000 and 230,000 abortions, with approximately one abortion performed for a little more than three births.

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