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France is making the morning after pill free for everyone

Health minister François Braun has announced the new policy as part of a series of measures designed to protect women’s reproductive rights

The morning after pill will be free of charge for women of all ages in France from next year, health minister François Braun has announced.

The move is part of a series of measures designed to bolster the protection of women’s reproductive rights and sexual health in France. Speaking to French newspaper 20 Minutes, Braun said the pill will be available at all pharmacies, over the counter and free of charge.

At present, the pill is currently only available for free and without a prescription for underage girls, or for those with a prescription under the age of 26.

The change will be included in France’s 2023 Social Security financing bill.

In Britain, the emergency contraceptive pill is available free of charge from contraception clinics, sexual health clinics, NHS walk-in centres, and most GP surgeries. However, continued cuts to public health funding have meant that some women can’t readily access this service. As a result, many women are made to buy the pill from pharmacies, but this can cost up to £35. 

Notably, Boots faced a backlash after putting emergency contraception on offer for Black Friday in 2021, charging £8 for levonorgestrel instead of £15.99. But after campaigners put pressure on the high street giant, the company backtracked, and in February 2022 permanently reduced the price of the pill to £10.