France Nonchalantly Introduces Chemical Abortion

70% Financed by Social Security

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PARIS, JULY 27, 2004 ( The French government has introduced chemical abortions, saying that women can undergo them without having to be hospitalized.

The measure, already planned by the government in 2001, sparked no debate in the media. Health Minister Philippe Douste Blazy signed the decree last Friday, authorizing induced abortion through drugs prescribed by a gynecologist or family doctor.

According to the decree, women can undergo chemical abortion up to seven weeks after missing their period, but they must visit their gynecologist or family doctor five times before having recourse to it.

In the first two meetings, the doctor informs the woman about abortifacient techniques and suggests a psychosocial consultation. The woman must then sign a document attesting to her consent.

On the third visit to the doctor, the woman takes a Mifegyne pill (formerly known as RU-486). Two days later, she must take two Gymiso pills. According to the instructions on these drugs, in 60% of cases the fetus is expelled within the next four hours. In 40% of cases, within the next 24 to 72 hours.

Chemical abortions, which will be 70% financed by social security, will cost about $231.

Official data say there are 220,000 abortions annually in France. Negative reactions to the news were given more coverage in Italy than in France.

In statements to the Italian bishops’ SIR information service, theologian Marco Doldi explained that with this decree «abortion becomes increasingly an individual option,» running the risk of losing «its objective moral gravity.»

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