France will begin offering free contraceptives for women up to the age of 25 starting next year to help young women with the financial costs of protecting against pregnancy, a health official said on Thursday.
“It is unbearable that young women cannot protect themselves, cannot have contraception if they choose to do so because it is too expensive for them,” said Oliver Véran, the country’s health minister, on France 2, a public broadcaster. The government had noticed a decline in the use of contraceptives among “a certain number of young women,” he said.
The government said it would set aside about 21 million euros, or almost $25 million, to pay for contraceptives and consultations on their use. The age of 25 was chosen as a threshold, Mr. Véran said, “because it is an age that corresponds, in terms of economic life, social life and income, with more autonomy.”
Many household health plans stop coverage for dependents in their 20s, and Mr. Véran said that many women gave up contraception during these years because of the expense after losing coverage.”
All types of contraceptives would be covered by the measure, the health ministry said. The measure announced Thursday extends a move in 2012 to offer free contraceptives to girls between the ages of 15 and 18, along with reimbursing the cost of abortion.