Abortion and the law Equality between women and men:
Alliance VITA denounces a serious regression for women: the denial of the reality of abortion.
The provisions relating to abortion, which have just been adopted by the deputies in the Project “Equality between Women and Men” aim, on the one hand at eliminating from the law the idea of ‘a situation of distress’ for abortion, and on the other hand to penalize the impediments to information on abortion in the facilities destined for this purpose. Besides the symbolic change which characterizes the elimination of the word ‘distress’ from the law for an act which threatens the life of a human being, Alliance VITA denounces the deterioration of the quality of information given to women often confronted with a painful dilemma. Alliance VITA calls for a growing awareness that this constitutes an absolute health and social scandal.
These measures, introduced by an amendment, were not examined by the State Council, nor have they been the object of any impact study by the Government, although they affect the intimate life of women and couples.
For Alliance VITA, the elimination of the words “situation of distress” denies the reality of what women confronted with unexpected pregnancies experience: these women find themselves all too often confronted with a one-way “choice”, by lack of impartial and exhaustive information and of a real abortion prevention policy for those who desire to pursue their pregnancy and be supported in their decision.
For Caroline Roux, Alliance Vita’s General Secretary, who coordinates the help line SOS baby, and all questions related to maternity: “How can we believe that it suffices to eliminate a word from the text to make the reality that it represents disappear? Women are aware of the fact that it is the life of a human being that is at stake. This is why it is often a painful dilemma. To deny the distress is to yet again relieve society of its responsibilities: public authorities have given up the idea of having a real policy to prevent abortion, in cases of unplanned or difficult pregnancies. Men in turn are then relieved of their responsibilities. Many women have told us that they would have been ready to pursue their pregnancy if they had felt supported by their companion. For the younger ones, it is the parents’ support which is decisive. What we are particularly concerned about is the social and economic context. So many women worry about their jobs or their future. This question is so meaningful that the Defender of Rights has launched a campaign to focus on the rights of pregnant women and on the obligation of non-discrimination for hiring them and throughout their career. The measures concerning abortion are all the more shocking in a text that pretends to promote equality between men and women.”
According to Tugdual Derville, Alliance VITA’s General Delegate: “A policy change is urgent to support the numerous women who want to avoid abortion: to provide active assistance once the pregnancy is announced. The enormous surprise revealed by the National Institute of Demographic Studies is that 72% of women having recourse to abortion were on birth control when they became pregnant. What is lacking is listening-support and information. It is a paradox to see the government threaten those who give out little-known information to women, when we know that since the Aubry law in 2001, they no longer receive details about public aid which would allow them to pursue their pregnancy. It is to compensate for this deficiency that Alliance Vita, without any public subvention, publishes and distributes a guidebook that lists the different kinds of assistance for pregnant women which is very much appreciated by the social workers. Utterly preposterous!”
Alliance VITA requests that be introduced in the law a measure that would guarantee balanced information concerning the rights, the assistance and the administrative procedures for pregnant women, alone or as a couple, as well as a description of their social protection. This would contribute to resolving many personal dramas, by presenting women alternatives other than abortion.