The government makes the morning after pill free for all women

Screening for sexually transmitted infections will also be free and without a prescription up to the age of 26, while the Minister of Health notes their increase in France.

Access to emergency contraception, or the morning after pill, will become free for all women regardless of their age, in pharmacies and without a prescription, announces the Minister of Health, François Braun, in an interview posted online this Tuesday by the daily 20 Minutes.

Screening for sexually transmitted infections will also be free and without a prescription up to the age of 26, and these two measures will be included in the 2023 social security financing bill, which will be presented to the Council of Ministers on September 26.

“With regard to female contraception, we are strengthening (…) the protection of women by facilitating their access to emergency contraception (or the morning after pill) in pharmacies, free of charge and without a prescription, at any age” , announces François Braun.

Women’s rights “are absolute priorities”

Until now, the morning after pill was available free of charge and without a prescription only for minors, from pharmacies, school nurses or in screening or sexual health centres, and for adult students.

The cost in pharmacies for adults varied between 3 and around twenty euros depending on the medication, with the possibility of partial coverage by social security on presentation of a prescription.

“The government is taking concrete action so that women no longer give up emergency contraception for financial reasons, the first reason for giving up among women”, commented in a press release Isabelle Rome, Minister Delegate for Equality between Women and men.

“At a time when we are witnessing the rise of conservatism in Europe and around the world, our government is once again demonstrating that gender equality and the right of women to dispose of their bodies are absolute priorities”, she added.

The number of STI cases on the rise

Concerning the screening of STIs, only that of HIV was up to now free. “From now on, the possibility of screening will be extended to all sexually transmitted infections to fight as early as possible against (the) resumption of infections”, explains François Braun in 20 Minutes.

The Minister indeed notes “the increase in sexually transmitted infections, specifically chlamydia and gonococcus” and considers that “all areas of prevention must be improved” because “France is lagging behind other European countries Only 2% of our budget is devoted to prevention against 4% for our neighbours”.

As for the causes, “it is very complicated” to know them, he admits, evoking “a lack of prevention, information or a more general relaxation”.

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