France to make morning after pill free for all women and girls

The morning after pill is free in the UK from NHS clinics (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

France will make the morning after pill free for women of all ages from next year, the country’s health minister has announced.

The pill is a form of emergency contraception taken shortly after sex to prevent pregnancy.

Minister François Braun announced the news as part of a series of measures intended to strengthen the protection of women’s reproductive rights and sexual health in the country.

In an interview with French newspaper 20 Minutes, Braun said the pill will be available at all pharmacies free of charge, without a prescription.

It is currently only free 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, Braun added.

In England, Scotland and Wales, the emergency contraceptive pill is available free of charge from contraception clinics, sexual health clinics, NHS walk-in centres, and most GP surgeries.

You can also purchase the pill from pharmacies, but this could cost up to £35.

There are two types of pills: Levonelle and ellaOne. If you are under 16 you may not buy Levonelle without a prescription. Those under the age of 16 may purchase ellaOne from pharmacies without a prescription.

Braun also announced the expansion of free screening for sexually transmitted infections for all young people up to the age of 26. As it stands, the screening is only free for HIV.

The move comes almost three months after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June.

The landmark decision struck down constitutional rights to abortion that have been in place for almost 50 years and paved the way for individual US states to ban the procedure.

Commenting on the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US, Braun said the right to abortion is “essential” for women and must be protected.