France's lower house passes free abortion bill

A woman holds a banner during a demonstration organized by the 'Droits des Femmes' association to claim for the right of abortion on March 24, 2012 in Bordeaux, southwestern France. PIERRE ANDRIEU/AFP/Getty Images

PARIS The lower house of the French parliament has voted to fully reimburse all abortions and to make contraception free for minors.

Currently, France's national medical insurance fully pays for abortions for minors and the poor, while other women are reimbursed for up to 80 percent of the procedure's cost, which can be as much as 450 euros ($580). Contraception is partially reimbursed.

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  • The bill, which passed the National Assembly on Friday, would make all abortions free and would also pay for contraception for those between 15 and 18. It now goes to the Senate, where it is likely to pass.

    "Women who want to stop an unwanted pregnancy have the right to be covered: The enactment of the right to choose to halt a pregnancy is an obligatory state service," the bill's language says.

    Some groups, however, complain that price is only one impediment to abortion access. They say too few doctors offer the procedure and there needs to be more information about who does.

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