Paris rental bikes deliver unexpected anti-abortion messages

Xiaofei Xu, CNN
Thu June 8, 2023

Since being launched in 2007, Paris’ public Vélib’ rental bikes have proven a hit with tourists and locals as a trouble-free way to get around the French capital, especially in summer when Metro trains are hot and crowded.

This year, however, the popular bikes have unwittingly become embroiled in a controversy with its roots in a fierce debate raging at the heart of French, and European, society.


Outrage as Parisians find ‘unacceptable’ anti-abortion stickers on city bikes

Rent-a-bike users in the French capital found large anti-abortion stickers plastered on their bicycles on Thursday, sparking an outcry from the government.

Issued on: 25/05/2023

“What if you had let it live?” read the adhesive labels designed specifically to fit Paris bike mudguards. The glued posters featured a drawing of a human foetus growing in a womb, then a crawling baby and finally a child waving on a bicycle.

A group called “The Survivors”, which described itself as “youth revolted by the suffering... provoked by abortions”, said it had planned the action.


Book Review: A French Feminist Struggles with Her Abortion Decision

Abortion: A Personal Story, a Political Choice by Pauline Harmange. Translated from the French by Caitlin O’Neil. Scribe, 85 pages, $16.

May 2, 2023
By Pat Reber

Does the world really need another personal abortion story? The answer is “yes,” Pauline Harmange argues.

French writer Pauline Harmange is a package of contradictions. She made a splash with her 2020 French publishing debut, I Hate Men, but at some point did marry one. And Harmange wrote this book, Abortion: A Personal Story, A Political Choice, during a second pregnancy which she hoped she could carry to term as she and her husband struggled to improve their economic circumstances.


The long and winding history of the war on abortion drugs

Along with the stethoscope and camembert cheese, mifepristone may be one of France’s greatest inventions. It’s one of two drugs taken for medical abortions, along with misoprostol, and has been making headlines in the US, where a Texas judge issued a ruling to ban it nationwide. FRANCE 24 takes a look at the history of these two drugs.


Two separate rulings filed one after another in quick succession on April 7 had US abortion providers holding their breath. The first, issued by Trump-appointed federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, ordered a hold on mifepristone, one of two drugs taken for medical abortions. The second, issued by Obama-appointed federal judge Thomas O. Rice, came less than an hour later. His ruling ordered the exact opposite.


Safe havens? As some nations restrict access, a look at Europe’s abortion limits

Joanna YORK

As US states and nations such as Poland move towards restricting access to abortions, parts of Europe are seen as something of a safe haven for those looking to terminate pregnancies. However, a look at legislation across the continent shows vast discrepancies and how – even if the procedure is often legal – access to abortion is restricted by hurdles ranging from mandatory counselling to a lack of doctors willing to perform the procedure.

More than 95% of women in Europe live in countries that allow some access to abortion. Some 39 European countries have legalised abortion on request, albeit with some restrictions. Six countries have strict limits in place although only three (Andorra, Malta and San Marino) do not allow abortion at all.


France ‘risks’ abortion pill shortage as US stocks up amid legal battle

France risks shortages of abortion pills as US states build up stocks during an intensifying legal and political battle over reproductive rights, the country's gender equality authority has warned.


France gets most of its abortion drugs from a largely US-owned manufacturer, and supplies are already under pressure from a shortage in raw materials.

In addition, US states "are building up stocks to mitigate a possible halt in production or sales of mifepristone and misoprostol," France's High Council for Equality between Men and Women (HCE) said Tuesday.


The challenge of enshrining abortion rights in the French constitution

Issued on: 10/03/2023

During a speech given on International Woman’s Day, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision to put forward a bill enshrining abortion rights in the country's constitution. Despite being lauded by women’s rights groups, changing the constitution may be more difficult than it appears.

Perhaps in an attempt to divert attention from the backlash his government is facing over the recent pension reform proposal, Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, March 8 announced his intention to cement abortion rights in the French constitution as he paid tribute to feminist activist Gisèle Halimi, who greatly influenced the passing in 1975 of the Veil Act granting women the right to abortion and contraception.


Macron says will put right to abortion in French constitution in ‘coming months’

Issued on: 08/03/2023

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday his government would put forward a draft law enshrining abortion rights in the French constitution within months.

In a speech paying tribute to the late Gisele Halimi, a feminist activist and pioneer for reproductive rights, Macron said an amendment to the constitution would be submitted to parliament.


France a step closer to adding abortion rights to constitution

Issued on: 02/02/2023
Text by: RFI

The French Senate has voted to include the right to abortion in the constitution, allowing the process to continue, though the path to a constitutional amendment is long.

After much debate, the Senate voted on Wednesday in favour of including the right to abortion in the constitution. With 166 votes for and 152 against, the chamber approved a bill introduced by lawmakers in the National Assembly from the hard-left France Unbowed, with support from the presidential majority.


The Father of the Abortion Pill

The 96-year-old scientist who came up with an idea for an “unpregnancy pill” decades ago has led an eventful life, from his teenage days in the French Resistance to his friendships with famous artists.

By Pam Belluck
Jan. 17, 2023

When the idea struck him, nearly 50 years ago, Dr. Étienne-Émile Baulieu believed it could be revolutionary. Creating a pill that could abort a pregnancy would transform reproductive health care, he thought, allowing women to avoid surgery, act earlier and carry out their decisions in private.

“When science meets women’s cause, it is irresistible,” Dr. Baulieu, 96, a French endocrinologist and biochemist often called the father of the abortion pill, said on a recent Sunday afternoon in his apartment in a century-old building a short walk from the Eiffel Tower.