Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

In France, Free Birth Control For Girls At Age 15...

Posted by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 11:14 PM
  • 40 Replies

In France, Free Birth Control For Girls At Age 15

An employee tidies boxes of medicines displayed in a pharmacy in the city of Caen in western France last month. Beginning in 2013, girls between the ages of 15 and 18 will be able to get birth control free of charge, and without parental notification.

Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning next year, young women in France between the ages of 15 and 18 will have access to birth control free of charge, and without parental notification. The French government says the new measure is intended to reduce pregnancies in this age group that result from a mixture of ignorance, taboo and lack of access to contraception.

One place where information is available on birth control, abortion and sexual abuse is a family planning clinic in a gritty neighborhood in the east of Paris.

On a recent day, a counselor talks with a handful of teenage girls in a sitting room. Clinic director Isabelle Louis says the young women who come to the clinic aren't necessarily poor; she says many hail from well-off families and live on the other side of Paris.

"It's not very easy for young women to go to see her family doctor and ask for contraception," Louis says. "A lot of them are afraid the doctor would tell the parents she came."

Starting in January, a law will protect these girls' anonymity at their family doctor's office, and the state will pick up the cost of the consultation and contraception. Under current rules, teenagers wanting absolute anonymity with a doctor have to pay for the visit in cash without submitting a claim to get the money back. And birth control is only partially reimbursed by the French state. Only clinics like this one are free.

The new law will also protect girls' anonymity at their family doctor's office. Under current rules, teenagers wanting absolute anonymity with a doctor have to pay for the visit in cash without submitting a claim to get reimbursed.

Eleanor Beardsley/NPR

French health officials say the new measure will help protect teenagers who are from low-income families, and from families where sexuality is a taboo subject.

Widespread Support For The Plan

Marie, a 17-year-old who doesn't want to give her last name, is visiting the clinic for the first time. She says she didn't know about the new law but thinks it's a good idea, and probably will see her family doctor next time — because she knows him and trusts him more, she says.

Marie is in her senior year at a very competitive Paris high school and says she cannot risk getting pregnant. But she comes from a very Catholic family, and says her parents wouldn't approve of her sexual activity.

"They don't want me to have sex with a lot of guys, because they think sex means love, too. So they want me to have a sexual activity with feelings," she says.

She says she actually feels the same.

"I do have sexual activity with my boyfriend because I love him," Marie says. "Yeah, I feel the same [as my parents]."

While birth control generated a vitriolic debate in the U.S. election campaign this year, the French government adopted the measure without a battle of any kind.

One Catholic organization did oppose it. CLER is a group that counsels young people about sexuality and relationships. A video on their website shows volunteers going into schools to talk to adolescents.

"We think reimbursing for contraception is a hygienist approach to sexuality, like the only thing that matters is health," says Jean Eude Tisson, president of CLER. "We think it goes beyond that."

Tisson says his group tries to explain that marriage brings the body and spirit together. He says the French government would do better to spend the money on more effective sex education in schools rather than on contraception.

Back at the clinic, 17-year-old Sabrina looks a bit nervous in the sitting room. It's her first time, too. But she didn't come for birth control.

"My father wants me to do a virginity test and get a virginity certificate. He says if I'm not a virgin he's gonna send me back to Morocco," she says.

Sabrina says she has not had sexual relations yet, but she doesn't think she'll wait until marriage either — despite her father's threat.

Counselors at the clinic say the new law may not solve every problem, but by giving young women like Sabrina other options for anonymous information, advice and free care, they believe it's a step in the right direction.

Naughty Wittle Puppy

by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
143myboys9496
by Gold Member on Dec. 18, 2012 at 11:24 PM

 "...options for anonymous information, advice and free care..."

Maybe I'm wrong, but doesn't Planned Parenthood do this?

Our gov't is SO good at making laws, why not mandate complete insurance coverage for contraceptives? Hey, since Obummercare is officially being rammed down our throats, add it to that..as an insurance mandate. IMHO, the gov't should NOT be in the contraceptive business.

NWP
by Guerilla Girl on Dec. 19, 2012 at 7:43 AM

"IMHO, the gov't should NOT be in the contraceptive business." Or the business of policing women's reproductive systems.

You are right about contraception. It should be in the health insurance business....Too bad gov't has to make them do the right thing.

Quoting 143myboys9496:

 "...options for anonymous information, advice and free care..."

Maybe I'm wrong, but doesn't Planned Parenthood do this?

Our gov't is SO good at making laws, why not mandate complete insurance coverage for contraceptives? Hey, since Obummercare is officially being rammed down our throats, add it to that..as an insurance mandate. IMHO, the gov't should NOT be in the contraceptive business.


Naughty Wittle Puppy

GaleJ
by Bronze Member on Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:34 AM

The French people and government are taking a very practical approach to a problem and unlike America, with its head in the sand, decrying the results without realistically addressing the cause of the problem. Young people the world over are choosing to be sexually active. While many factions of our societies may not like that, it is true. All young people should have access to a complete and comprehensive approach to sex, sexual health, and reproductive realities, without exception and without acceding to the demands of those that would deny them this critical part of their education in favor of whatever religious standards the deniers favor. Young women's lives should not be derailed by unplanned pregnancy and from a practical standpoint our society should be doing everything it can to see that it doesn't happen. Our society, in fact no society anywhere or anytime, has ever been able to prevent young people from being sexually active, from chastity belts to abstinence only, it hasn't worked so let's be pragmatic and address the problem directly. Families can continue to teach their chosen values but at the same time young people will have the solid biologic facts to understand and base their behavior on reality.

Ednarooni160
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:37 AM

Wow..I hope they don't expect the parents to pick up the tab for STDS, or whatever else comes of birth control pills not working and/or making them sick..

PamR
by Platinum Member on Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Edna, birth control will lead to fewer unplanned pregnancies and thus, fewer abortions.  And that's a good thing, isn't it?  I think GaleJ is right on the money.  We have our head in the sand in this country regarding sex.  Taking a more realistic approach could actually help. 

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Awesome.

I totally support this.

While the idea of my (admittedly hypothetical) daughter having sex without my knowledge makes me queasy, ultimately, I can't rely on the government to assume that I and my daughter have open communications and a good relationship like that.

I just have to trust her that I've raised her right to make mature, responsible decisions.

Easier said then done, I'm sure, but that's the standard I'm holding myself to.

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Yes!

Quoting GaleJ:

The French people and government are taking a very practical approach to a problem and unlike America, with its head in the sand, decrying the results without realistically addressing the cause of the problem. Young people the world over are choosing to be sexually active. While many factions of our societies may not like that, it is true. All young people should have access to a complete and comprehensive approach to sex, sexual health, and reproductive realities, without exception and without acceding to the demands of those that would deny them this critical part of their education in favor of whatever religious standards the deniers favor. Young women's lives should not be derailed by unplanned pregnancy and from a practical standpoint our society should be doing everything it can to see that it doesn't happen. Our society, in fact no society anywhere or anytime, has ever been able to prevent young people from being sexually active, from chastity belts to abstinence only, it hasn't worked so let's be pragmatic and address the problem directly. Families can continue to teach their chosen values but at the same time young people will have the solid biologic facts to understand and base their behavior on reality.


mikiemom
by Gold Member on Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM
1 mom liked this

The French are much more lax about sex than in the United States. It's a completely different culture. I think this is a bridge to far for this warped country. We would rather make weapons available in schools (ie arm a teacher) than provide them with contraceptives.

Ednarooni160
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM


Quoting PamR:

Edna, birth control will lead to fewer unplanned pregnancies and thus, fewer abortions.  And that's a good thing, isn't it?  I think GaleJ is right on the money.  We have our head in the sand in this country regarding sex.  Taking a more realistic approach could actually help. 

I guess my question would be..do girls of that age.."really" understand what it means to have sex and/or relationships.. Girls and boys of that age don't even THINK the same when it comes to sex..(imo)..but alas that's a whole other post..  I can't believe that giving a free pass to birth controls.."solves" problems for kids..this is more than a "physical" issue..it's 'mental" as well. (imo)....

PamR
by Platinum Member on Dec. 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM

It's more than a physical issue, for sure.  And I'm sure lots of young people who are having sex are not ready for it.  I think, however, they need to have access to birth control in order to prevent these unwanted pregnancies.  Teenagers having sex is nothing new, we need to accept that it's happening and approach it realistically.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)