PARIS, October 26, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com)—Even as the nation’s Social Security budget is being ground down, the French National Assembly has voted to offer full taxpayer-funding for abortion and contraception.
As of 2013, public coverage of abortion expenses will be pushed up from 70 percent for chemical abortions or 80 percent for surgical abortions to a full 100 percent, within the limit fixed annually by the public health insurance system.
In the same session, the Assembly voted to make contraception 100 percent free to all girls aged between 15 and 18. This includes all forms of contraception that are eligible for Social Security coverage: most hormonal pills, patches, implants, intra-uterine devices, and vaginal rings.
Both measures are expected to be confirmed without question by the Socialist-dominated Senate.
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The new measures will force taxpayers to bear the full cost of eliminating unborn babies for any legal abortion on demand. Abortion is fully legal in France up to 12 weeks of gestation and its numbers have not diminished since the abortion first became legal in 1975.
Official statistics estimate the number of “voluntary interruptions of pregnancy” at about 225.000 a year, despite a near-“perfect” contraception rate. In France 95 percent of sexually active women who do not want to conceive use some form of contraception.
These numbers do not include an amount of abortions fraudulently performed under other Social Security lists which ensure better refunding for doctors, some of whom judge that the official rates are not “attractive” enough. Current legal rates range from about 250 euros ($320 U.S.) for a chemical abortion of a baby up to seven weeks of gestation, and from 300-450 euros ($385-580 U.S.) for a surgical abortion, according to circumstances.
In the present state only minors acting without their parents’ consent or beneficiaries of the state-run health coverage plan for the destitute get 100 percent taxpayer-financed abortions. All others rely on additional health insurance, usually provided for by employers, to cover the remaining costs. A small number of “ethical” insurers offer packages that explicitly exclude additional insurance for abortion and contraceptives.
While Social Security reimbursements are being planed down on all sides, the “improved” coverage of abortion is expected to cost the taxpayer an extra 13.5 million euros annually (about $17.5 million). The total extra cost of abortion could reach 31 million euros a year ($40 million) if the government increases the official rates for abortions, as promised by the Health minister Marisol Touraine.
Women’s Rights minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, who joined Marisol Touraine in presenting the government amendment, was careful to explain that full anonymity would be “guaranteed” to young girls seeking to obtain contraceptives from their doctor or health center.
At present, underage girls can anonymously obtain free contraceptives from Planned Parenthood centers but a majority of adolescents, especially in small towns and rural areas, have no access to these. They can obtain contraceptives from their family doctor against the general Social Security refund of 65 percent but must rely on their parents’ additional coverage, when present, to obtain a full reimbursement. The government amendment’s objective is to push up usage of contraceptives among adolescents without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
According to Vallaud-Belkacem, about a million girls should benefit by the measure; extra costs for the Social Security are estimated at about 5 million euros (about $6.4 million U.S.).
The move toward publicly funded abortion-on-demand fulfills one of François Hollande’s solemn promises during his presidential campaign, and had long been the aim of feminist groups and pro-abortion campaigners.
Observers remarked the “peaceable” and “consensual” atmosphere during the debate at the Assembly on Friday morning, representatives of the left and many of the right joining forces to adopt the measure. Many recalled with “emotion” the more passionate proceedings in December 1974, when Simone Veil led the first successful assault to decriminalize abortion, paying tribute to her as a defender of “women’s rights.”