Coronavirus: French Senate Rejects Abortion Amendment

On March 19, during the Covid-19 Emergency Bill discussions in the French Senate, Senator Laurence Rossignol tabled an amendment to extend the statutory deadline for performing abortion by two weeks.

This proposal to increase the legal deadline for abortion from 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy is nothing short of a legislative rider tagged onto the law for emergency health measures during the Coronavirus crisis. Following the negative reactions voiced by the Government and the Senate Law Commission, the amendment was rejected.

The amendment pretended to reinforce the recommendations sent, on March 17, by the National College of French Gynecologists and Obstetricians (“CNGOF”) to its members regarding abortions during the Covid-19 crisis. A close look at this document shows, on the contrary that the CNGOF’s concern about abortion’s delays regards the pressure to shorten the legal delay, and not an appeal to extend the legal timeframe to get an abortion.

In fact, the “CNGOF” recommends avoiding hospital care as much as possible and “encourages having abortions at home”. During this confinement period, it is especially disturbing to see this type of abortion method being recommended. Because it must be performed before 5 weeks of pregnancy it requires a quick decision. Furthermore, due the psychological and medical risks caused by abortions at home, women having these abortions need to be followed-up closely.

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