« Emergency contraception » unlimited access for youth

On May 26th an Implementing Decree was published for the law to modernize the French healthcare system, which was voted last January 26. This Decree authorizes nurses and especially those in schools to distribute “emergency contraception” to middle school and high school students by eliminating the previously required condition noting “severe distress”. According to the Health Minister, Marisol Touraine this will thereby allow to “the waiting period for the morning-after pill to be shortened, and facilitate access to these pills in secondary schools”.

This treatment will be anonymous and free of charge, even if the Decree specifies that the nurse should “propose a discussion concerning the suggestions for implementing assistance between students who are minors and their parents (or legal guardians), although the student may opt to refuse”.

« Emergency contraception” includes the so-called “morning-after pill”: Norlevo® or Levonorgestrel, which can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse; and the “two days later pills”: EllaOne® or ulipristal acetate, effective up to 5 days after sexual intercourse. Since April 17, 2015, these “two days later pills” are available over the counter.

This measure continues in the line of decisions made by Marisol Touraine since 2012:

  • For minors over age 15, the pharmacies may dispense emergency contraception free of charge, anonymously, without any limit on the number of incidences, without any prior medical examination and without any possibility of follow-up monitoring;
  • It is no longer necessary to pay in advance for either medical consultations or laboratory tests related to contraception (the part reimbursed by Social Security);
  • “Emergency contraception” is free of charge for students;
  • The sales tax on condoms has been lowered to 5% (instead of 10%).
  • Furthermore, the Minister announced that before summer, the fee for contraceptive consultations for minors over age 15 will be covered 100% by the National Health Insurance.


We are witnessing a bona fide and relentless political determination to dispense these pharmaceutical products which have not proven effective in decreasing the number of abortions, without any control whatsoever. Moreover, the effects of these two “emergency contraceptives” on the endometrium remain unclear. In the event of conception, these products could be abortifacient, by preventing the fertilized egg to be implanted in the endometrium.

Contraceptive pills are only available by prescription, yet in both categories of “emergency contraceptives”, these products with higher doses are to be made available over the counter. Furthermore, the women are not properly informed of the functioning and the implications, as was shown by the Harris opinion poll in 2015. This is even more worrisome if these pills are to be freely distributed in schools, without any supervision, and without any monitoring to ensure the traceability of potential side-effects.