By Madjid Bennaceur

Posted today at 8:00 a.m.

In front of the Planned Parenthood in Paris, Eve, 22, nervously pulls on her cigarette. While the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, announced a week earlier the extension of free contraception to women aged 18 to 25, she regrets that her elders are “Excluded” of the device. “The first time I came, women over 30 were present”, remarks the young woman, who comes there for a second voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion).

“It’s still absurd to limit yourself to contraception,” says Eve

Several doctors’ organizations, as well as the Family Planning, welcomed this announcement, while recalling that other measures were still necessary to guarantee wider access to contraception. In women encountered by The world at Planned Parenthood in Paris, the tone is even more severe. “It’s still absurd to limit yourself to contraception”, engages Eve. “Menstrual insecurity is also important. Sanitary napkins are super expensive. It would be nice to be reimbursed for that too ”, hammers the young woman, for whom the minister “Does not seem to consult women before making his decisions”.

Eve, 22, is coming to Family Planning for the second time.  She was on the pill but is pregnant.  September 16, 2021, in Paris.
The entrance to Family Planning in the 2nd arrondissement in Paris, September 16.

“A half-initiative”, regrets for his part Marine, 23 years old. “It’s a good start, but there is still a lot to do in these areas! We do not include all women ”, she laments in a tone imbued with impatience. Same story with Anne, who wonders “What happens after 25 years”, and for whom are women “Should be reimbursed until the end of their life”.

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Other expected measures

Beyond the problem of cost, to which the Ministry of Health intends to respond with this measure, the supervisors of the association also deplore a timid reform that is out of step with the reality on the ground. After the waiting room lined with rape prevention and contraception posters appears the office of Nathalie Marinier, marriage counselor and manager of the association since 1987. “Even overbooked, we will find a solution for you”, she replies reassuringly on the phone to Inès, a young woman wishing to come to Family Planning again after a missed appointment for an abortion.

Table in the group meeting room at Planned Parenthood, September 16, 2021.
Nathalie Marinier (center), facilitator, marriage counselor and manager since 1987 at the Planning familial de Paris, September 16, 2021.

The youngest, targeted by the government measure, are not the only ones affected by the risk of unwanted pregnancy

“Calls like that, we get over fifteen thousand a year!” “, loose Mme Marinier. Like her, nineteen employees and ten volunteers, spread over the three Parisian branches of Family Planning, receive women and men every day for various interventions, ranging from simple information on contraceptive methods, to abortion, in through the insertion of an IUD. The profiles are varied. “We really welcome women of all ages”, adds the marriage counselor. And the youngest, targeted by the government’s measure, are not the only ones affected by the risk of unwanted pregnancy. A finding partly illustrated by a study conducted by the Directorate of Research and Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DREES) and published on September 24, 2020. This showed an increase in the use of abortion in women aged 30 to 34.

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