“Improve the offer of care offered to women wishing to have an abortion.“It is to meet this objective that the High Authority of Health (HAS) published on April 12 new recommendations concerning the voluntary termination of medical pregnancy.
She thus advocates “permanently extend the period of an abortion in town up to 9 weeks of amenorrhea“. Indeed, in April 2020,”to limit the consequences of health measures and more particularly of the strict limitation of travel induced by confinement, the period for resorting to medical abortion has been extended to 9 weeks in the city by way of derogation and transitory“recalls the HAS. The measure was renewed in the fall of 2020, during the second confinement.
Read also: Abortion, still very unequal access in the world
A quarter of the medical abortions concerned
Currently, three quarters of medical abortions are performed in health establishments where they are possible up to 9 weeks of amenorrhea. The remaining quarter is carried out in the city (doctor’s or midwife’s office, education and family planning center (CPEF) or health center), “where common law only provides for their authorization up to 7 weeks of amenorrhea“.
Sustain the extension of the time in the city, allows on the one hand to “reduce the time of access to medical abortion“, of”expand the healthcare offer“on the other hand but also of”lighten the burden on healthcare establishments, which must be able to concentrate on surgical abortions“.
No lengthening for surgical abortions
What about surgical abortions? The period currently in force is 12 weeks of pregnancy, or 14 weeks of amenorrhea. An extension from 14 to 16 weeks had been on the table of parliamentarians since October 2020. But the text was finally withdrawn from the agenda in February 2021, without the examination of a new proposal being scheduled.
Longer lead times in Europe
The HAS does not mention this deadline in its new recommendations. And last October, the National Academy of Medicine spoke out against a possible extension of the deadline for surgical abortion, saying they feared surgical maneuvers “dangerous for women“.
However, in Europe, several countries already allow abortion beyond 12 weeks of pregnancy: 14 weeks in Spain and Austria, 18 weeks in Sweden, 22 in the Netherlands and up to 24 weeks in the United Kingdom.