France: One Abortion for Every Three Births in 2021

September 29, 2022

According to data from the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation, and Statistics (DREES), 223,300 abortions were recorded in France in 2021.

This number corresponds to a rate of 15.5 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-49. Both the number of abortions and the recourse rate increased compared to 2020.

The rates of recourse to abortion are as follows: 8.6% among 15-19 year olds, 24.8% for 20-24 year olds and 27.2% among 25-29 year olds, against an average of 12 .2% for women aged 30 to 49. Abortions are therefore more frequent among women between the ages of 20 and 29.

But among women under 20, this rate fell from 8.7% in 2014 to 4.9% in 2021 for minors, and from 21.5% in 2014 to 14.3% in 2021 for young women 18-19 years old. This decline had started before the pandemic.

A globally increasing rate

According to the DREES, “the number of abortions has fluctuated since the mid-2000s around 225,000 per year.” But, notes the agency, “the overall rate of recourse to abortion is tending to increase, in a context where the number of women of childbearing age is falling.”

During the 2010s, the ratio between the number of abortions and the number of births increased, “mainly” due to the drop in the number of births. It was 0.3 in 2021, as in 2020. Thus, last year, there was one abortion for just over three births.

The increase in “off-premises” abortions

While the number of abortions performed in health establishments is decreasing, non-institutional abortions are constantly increasing.

This phenomenon is explained in particular by the measures taken during the pandemic: a supposedly “exceptional” extension of the time allowed for an abortion, increased from seven to nine weeks of amenorrhea, and the authorization of the use of teleconsultation. Measures finally made permanent in March 2022.

DREES reports that 76% of medical abortions are performed at less than 8 weeks of amenorrhea. This indicates that 24% are beyond it. With regard to teleconsultations, 748 abortions were counted in 2020 and 971 in 2021. An “underestimated” figure according to DREES.

Still more medication-induced abortions

76% of abortions are medication, i.e. two thirds of abortions in health establishments. A constantly increasing number. In 2019, the rate of medication-induced abortions was 68% and 31% in 2000. This way of doing things leads to a trivialization of abortion.

Perpetuation of measures supposed to be temporary, extension of the period for abortion when the period for reflection is removed, the measures are aimed at “all abortion.” With the next step being the inclusion of a “right to abortion” in the Constitution?