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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’Avortement est un droit menacé

by Cécile Rousseau

Abortion is a Right, But is Threatened

Translated Monday 19 October 2009, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Derek Hanson

In this land of Human Rights, the centers for IVG [1] are closing their doors in order to satisfy objectives of profitability. In all, five such services could disappear in the Paris region alone.

The right to abortion is not guaranteed. More than 30 years after the enactment of the law introduced by Simone Veil, abortion services are closing one after another. These services are not profitable, an intervention costing 300€ on the average. They are thus the first services to bear the brunt in the dismantling of the public hospitals. Officially, this is in the interest of grouping these services together in order better to serve the patients. Nevertheless, "we seem to be marching backwards", explains Josée Pépin of the Joint Committee for Women’s Rights in the 20th arrondissement of Paris.

In the Paris region, three services disappeared already this year: those at the Broussais Hospital, the Tenon Hospital, and the Jean-Rostand Hospital in Ivry-sur-Seine. For the Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny, closing is imminent. These centers carry out 2800 abortions each year, this being a quarter of the 12000 IVG yearly in Île-de-France. The patients at the Tenon Hospital are thus redirected to Saint-Antoine. But their center for orthogeny [2] is also projected to close. The women will then be sent to the Trousseau Hospital. "But they can’t be received here by magic, without additional means and personnel", says Doctor Jean-Claude Magnier, with irony. He is vice-president of the Ancic, the National Association of Centers for Abortion and Contraception [3]. "In the end, we’ll insert the IVG into the schedules of the obstetricians, when we have time." Not counting the increase of the waiting times by several weeks. The risk is to see the women leave the country in search of treatment.

An obstacle course for those who wish to abort. A way to make them feel guilty? "In a family-oriented culture like that in France, the IVG remains still taboo", explains Maya Surduts, general secretary of the Cadac [4] (Coordination of Associations for the Right to Abortion and Contraception). In Lyon the center for abortion at the Hôtel-Dieu, which was threatened, will be transferred as a whole to another hospital. A small victory. But the battle continues. The militants demand the reimbursement of all means of contraception and the maintenence of centers for IVG. A freedom of decision concerning one’s own body, the right no longer to suffer from unwanted pregnancies.

[1Voluntary interruption of pregnancy, Interruption volontaire de grossesse

[2Orthogeny is the collection of medical methods of planning and birth control for the couple

[3Association nationale des centres d’interruption de grossesse et de contraception.

[4Coordination des associations pour le droit à l’avortement et à la contraception

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