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Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2024

Medication abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic in France: A research based on the French national health insurance database

Abstract

Objectives During the COVID-19 pandemic in France, abortion was recognized as an essential service that cannot be delayed, and such care was therefore presumed to be maintained. The aim is to analyze the changes in the practice of abortion in 2020 to identify the consequences of the two lockdowns and the effects of the extension of the legal time limit. Methods We analyzed the data collected by the French national health insurance system, which covers 99% of the population. All women who had an elective abortion, either surgical or with medication, in France in 2019 and 2020 were included in the study. Trend changes in abortions were analyzed by comparing the ratio of the weekly number of abortions in 2020 with the weekly number in 2019. Results Both 2020 lockdowns were followed by a drop in abortions, particularly after the first and stricter lockdown. This may be explained not by an abrupt shutdown of access to abortion services, but rather by a decrease in conceptions during the lockdown weeks. The decrease was more marked for surgical abortions than for medication abortions in a hospital setting, and less so for medication abortions in non-hospital settings. Moreover, the proportion of the latter type of abortions continued to increase, showing the reinforcement of a previous trend. Conclusions Our findings indicate that expanding the legal time limit for abortion, diversifying the settings where abortions can be performed and the range of abortion providers help to facilitate access to this fundamental reproductive care.
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hal-04462703 , version 1 (16-02-2024)

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Justine Chaput, Valentine Becquet, Pierre-Louis Bithorel, Elodie Baril, Elise de La Rochebrochard, et al.. Medication abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic in France: A research based on the French national health insurance database. PLoS ONE, 2024, 19 (2), pp.e0295336. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0295336⟩. ⟨hal-04462703⟩
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