Gynecologists stand trial after threatening to stop conducting abortion

Three members of the Gynecologists' Union will stand trial after they threatened to stop conducting abortions. 

Sara Saidi
Sara Saidi NewsMavens, France
Gynecologists stand trial after threatening to stop conducting abortion - NewsMavens
Bertrand Rochambeau, YouTube

Why this story matters:

The French National Union of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (Syngof)) wanted to be heard by the health minister, Agnes Buzyn. Their goal: to call for better financial protection for practitioners condemned for medical errors.

In March of this year, they sent an e-mail to their 2,000 subscribers. They asked them to be ready to stop conducting abortions if the health minister refused to see them. 

For Marlène Shiappa, Secretary of State in charge of Equality between Women and Men, this was "unacceptable blackmail". Some feminist associations wrote to the Medical Order, asking to bring the case against them to court. The Medical Order has now taken the decision to put the president, secretary general and the former president of the union on trial.

The fact is that it is not the first time this union has created controversy about abortion. Indeed, last September, the union's president, Bertrand Rochambeau, claimed, "Things I don’t believe in, I don’t do them anymore. We are not here to take lives." 

Last but not least, in 2016, in the name of gender equality between women and men, Elisabeth Paganelli, secretary general of the Union said women should take a day off to abort. In this way they do not have to ask for medical leave and don't have to give explanations.

This controversy reminds us of the weakness of the right to abortion in France.

In fact, by virtue of a provision of the 1975 Simone Veil law -- which gave women the right to abortion in France, practitioners can refuse to conduct abortions. Last September, some politicians proposed a law to remove this provision, also called the conscience clause. However, the law also states that practitioners who don’t want to conduct an abortion should redirect their patients to others who will do it. 

Agnès Buzyn has asked for a situational analysis to determine if there is an increase of conscience clause use. 

Details from the story:

  • Three members of the union of Gynecologists will stand trial. 
  • They threatened to stop conducting abortions if the health minister, Agnès Buzyn, declined to see them.  
  • This controversy remind us the weakness of the right to abortion in the country.
  • Simone Veil’s law in 1975  gave women the right to abortion in France
  • By virtue of a provision of the 1975 Simone Veil’s law practitioners can refuse to conduct abortion.
  • Last September some politics proposed a law to remove this provision.
  • In 2017, 217 000 women had abortions.
  • One third of women will have an abortion in their lives.
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