Health Legislation Project /Abortion: where is the respect for women?


Alliance Vita is concerned about the precipitation with which the members cancelled the delay for reflection between two doctor appointments before submitting to an abortion.

For Caroline Roux, who coordinates Alliance Vita help line services, which listen to over 2000 women or couple per year, confronting questions or difficulties surrounding pregnancy: “For 15 years, I’ve accompanied women confronted with this difficult question; I’ve been witness to profound inner questioning that a pending abortion incites. Women well know: it is the life of a human being as well as their own destiny that is at stake. To force these women into a hasty decision is to misunderstand what they are going through during an unplanned pregnancy.

The questions are jostled about in panic, often in solitude. Many women, both young and mature, feel judged and rejected when they reveal that are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.  Many confide resorting to abortion against their own wishes, under pressure from their companion, or by fear for their jobs. Eliminating the delay for reflection is equivalent to endorsing a mistreatment of women, with legal injunction for them to decide. It’s not a shortened delay which will erase suffering due to abortion. Rather the opposite, I realize how women have a right to ambivalence on such an intimate question and to be given an opportunity to reflect on such an important decision. On such a delicate subject, women need to be listened to, and they need time to see things clearly.  They also have a right to be fully informed, including about aid for pregnant women and for young mothers. It is so brutal for them to discover afterwards, that they were not sufficiently supported and that everything happened in a rushed manner…”

For Tugdual Derville, Alliance Vita’s General Delegate: “Increasing trivialisation of abortion does not help women… The pro-choice affirm that quickening abortion avoids one week of needless suffering; but what tragedy if the price of it is regret and pain, which society forbids more and more women to express! The slogan “It’s my choice” condemns many women to secret tears. In fact, this insistence to make abortion an act without any intimate, social, or ethic considerations, constitutes a serious denial of what women feel. More and more pregnant women tell us: “I feel helpless not knowing what to decide”. Today our laws also mandate a minimum delay for reflection on certain medical interventions of importance: two weeks for esthetic surgery, and even one month for medically assisted reproduction. Giving women time protects them from panicking, but also from pressure that could push them reluctantly towards abortion. Since 2001, with the elimination of the information leaflet which informed women about alternatives, abortion has become increasingly imposed as inevitable.

Alliance VITA is also concerned about the measure voted that authorizes abortions to be performed in health centers, to the detriment of women’s health and sanitary safety. It recalls the urgency for prevention policies to abortion. It should not be limited to “preventing unwanted pregnancies” (as 72% of women having recourse to abortion, were using a so-called reliable method of birth control when they discovered their pregnancy). Incorporating help for women faced with unplanned or difficult pregnancies is essential so that abortion should not be considered inevitable.

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