France Provides Free Birth Control for Women. America Violates Basic Human Rights.

Lily Baker, Staff Writer

French health minister Olivier Veran recently announced that birth control will be free to all women up to age 25 starting next year. In addition to free contraception, this action will also provide free medical visits for women about reproductive health issues and other related topics. This is hardly the first progressive step France has taken in providing free reproductive care to women; all forms of birth control, including abortions, were already free for girls up to 18 years old. It is almost impossible to believe this is happening in another country in the present day, as state governments across the United States enact sweeping laws restricting women’s reproductive rights. In the U.S., if you have health insurance, there is a chance you could get low-cost or free birth control pills. Without insurance, however, birth control can cost anywhere from $50 (for “the pill”) to $1,300 (for an implant or IUD). Planned Parenthood does indeed provide all of these measures free of charge to anyone with or without insurance. However, Planned Parenthood has been struggling for years to obtain funding to continue providing free birth control for women. Most recently, on September 1, 2021 Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed into law a “heartbeat bill” banning abortions from as early as six weeks. This is one of the nation’s strictest abortion measures since the Roe v. Wade decision was announced by the Supreme Court in 1973. The stark contrast between France providing free birth control to women and laws being passed forbidding women from getting an abortion as early as six weeks shows how the U.S. government is fueled by patriarchal values that try to control women’s bodies in any way they can.

Veran of France notes that young women are using less contraception than they used to due to financial difficulties. Thus, to combat this issue, France gives women the chance to protect themselves regardless of their financial situation. France is not the only European country that offers free birth control. According to NPR, Britain also offers free contraceptive methods, and Spain offers free pills and other forms of contraception. Many other European countries provide ways for women to choose how to regulate their reproductive system.

The American government, long a servant of the interests of white propertied men, has a storied history of oppressing women socially, politically, economically, and in almost every aspect of their lives. Even so, the government has found its way into controlling the one thing that shouldn’t belong to anyone: our bodies. The government is involved in regulating Planned Parenthood, insurance of birth control, and now making it illegal for women in Texas to get an abortion past the six-week mark. A woman who is six weeks pregnant means she has missed only one menstrual cycle. Thus, at this stage in the pregnancy, she might not even know she is pregnant. This law makes no exception for incest, rape, or any form of sexual assault. Additionally, this law rests in the hands of private citizens to enforce the law. Anyone who performs, helps, or is involved in a woman receiving an abortion can be sued by anyone. This law portrays women who get abortions as evil and killers of their unborn children. The government dismissed the very real truth that abortions are a form of birth control that people of all kinds get for many reasons. These valid reasons range from financial concerns, pregnancy as a result of incest/rape, not being ready to be a parent, or because they simply don’t want it. Regardless of the reason, a woman should be able to do whatever she wants with her body without permission from the government. My body is my choice. This infamous phrase sums up the quintessential truth that what people do with their bodies is entirely their choice. The Texas abortion law and many other institutional regulations are a violation of human rights.

11 local organizations in Texas providing resources, protection, and access to abortion you can support:

  1. Lilith Fund
  2. Texas Equal Access Fund
  3. Austin Women’s Health Center
  4. The Bridge Collective
  5. Buckle Bunnies
  6. The Afiya Center
  7. Frontera Fund
  8. Fund Texas Choice
  9. Clinic Access Support Network
  10. Whole Woman’s Health
  11. Jane’s Due Process

Organizations found from @feminist Instagram account.

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