On June 26, the service in charge of statistics at the French National Health Ministry (the “Drees”) published the abortion statistics in France for 2016, noting a slight decrease.

Although there has been a slight decline these past 3 years, the number of abortions has remained stable on an overall level, and significantly high over a period of 15 years whereas Germany and Italy have reported a sharp decrease with rates two times lower.

Last year, 211,900 abortions were performed, compared to 219,000 the preceding year. “The rate is 13.9 abortions for 1000 women aged 15-49 years old for metropolitan France, and 25.2 for the departments and regions overseas (“DROM”)” according to the “Drees”.

Young women under 20 have less recourse to abortion than in the past few years. “The overall percentage has dropped since 2010 for the under 20-year-olds, after showing a significant increase from 1990 to 2010”. However the highest percentage of abortions is still reported in the 20-29 year-old age group.

There are also disparities according to the regions. The highest percentages for abortion for metropolitan France were recorded in the “PACA” region (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) followed by Ile-de-France (suburban Paris region), and the overseas departments which were largely above the national average. “The rate of abortion is 13.9 for 1000 women aged 15 to 49 for metropolitan France and 25.2 for the departments and regions overseas (“DROM”).”

Having recourse to medication abortion continues to increase and it accounted for 64% of the total number of abortions, including 18% performed at home. In the PACA region, at-home abortions account for 24%.  It is notable that medication abortion affects the allowable decision-making timeframe since in hospitals, it is only allowed prior to 7 weeks of pregnancy, and at home prior to 5 weeks, whereas the legal delay is 12 weeks.

Alliance VITA continues to plead for a genuine prevention policy for abortion and presented its propositions during the international seminar on this issue which was held in Brussels last June 23rd.

To refer to VITA’s evaluation and propositions for abortion prevention