Termination of Pregnancy and Abortion in France
Information on who to contact and how to proceed in the event of an unwanted pregnancy...
The family-planning organisation, the French Movement for Family Planning (Mouvement Français Pour le Planning Familial/MFPF) is responsible for providing information on contraception, abortion (avortement), sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS (SIDA). The website (in French) is comprehensive and provides information relevant to all regions of France.
- Planning Familial website has more information
Emergency Contraception/The "Morning-After Pill"
In the event of contraceptive failure, an emergency contraceptive pill (la contraception d'urgence), called NorLevo, is available. It prevents the implantation of a fertilised egg and should be taken as soon after having un-protected sex as possible and within three days at the latest (though it may be effective for up to five days after intercourse).
This emergency contraception is available at pharmacies: without a prescription (unreimbursed by social security) as well as with a prescription (reimbursed by social security). The unreimbursed cost is €4-10. It is free for minors.
- Planning Familial have more information from MFPF on emergency contraception (in French)
Termination of Pregnancy
Termination of pregnancy (IVG) is legal in France up to 12-weeks after conception. There is one week period of compulsory "reflection" prior to termination, except in an urgent case where this can be reduced to two days.
Minors (girls under 18 years of age) and unmarried women must meet with a counsellor during the week prior to the process and in the days immediately after.
Minors do not need parental consent, however they must be accompanied by an adult (person over 18 years of age) throughout the procedure. Single women do not need to provide the agreement of the partner. A non-resident visitor to France may legally have a pregnancy terminated while in France.
- The French Government have more information (in French)
Note: A doctor has the right to refuse to perform an abortion but should direct the woman to the family planning organisation or a medical practitioner who can help.
Arranging a termination
A woman may begin by visiting the doctor of her choice, a public hospital or a private clinic practising abortion. After this initial consultation, certain laboratory tests may be required.
- Find the nearest family planning clinic at the Planning Familial website
Recommended documents to take:
At the initial medical consultation, it is suggested to bring the following:
- Card proving blood type (carte de groupe sanguin)
- Medical records (dossier médical)
- Prescriptions (ordonnances) of any ongoing treatment
- Social security card (Carte Vitale)
For those registered with the French social security system, 100 percent of the tarif de base is currently covered by the system.
For those not resident in France, it may be possible to receive reduced-rate medical assistance, though not all hospitals or clinics will do so. Some clinics and hospitals will ask the patient to sign a non-binding certificate stating they intend to remain in France, others will request that they show they are or will live in France for at least two months.
For those concerned with confidentiality - especially if they are registered with social security through a spouse or parent - clinics and hospitals have a coding system that does not identify the procedure in regards to social security billing or reimbursement.
- The French Government provide a detailed guide to abortion in France (PDF in French)