How do I get an abortion?

How do I get an abortion?

In 2019 in mainland France, 15.6 out of every 1,000 women aged between 15 and 49 had an abortion. That's +0.6 points more than in 2018. In 2019, there was one abortion for every three births (around 232,200 abortions performed). The women most concerned are aged between 20 and 29 (27.9 abortions per 1,000 women). Abortion is accessible to all women who comply with the strict legal framework set out in the Veil Law of January 17, 1975, the Pelletier Law of December 31, 1979 and the Law of July 4, 2001. An abortion can be performed up to 14 weeks of amenorrhea, i.e. 12 weeks of pregnancy.

What is abortion? Is it different from abortion?

Abortion can be voluntary or unintended (due to a genetic problem or miscarriage, for example). From a scientific point of view, abortion is the termination of a pregnancy caused by the loss of an embryo or fetus.

What is a spontaneous abortion, also known as a miscarriage?

This is the expulsion from the uterus or maternal body (for extra-uterine pregnancies) of an embryo or fetus aged less than 20 weeks of pregnancy or 22 weeks of amenorrhea. The fetus must weigh no more than 500 grams. As soon as the end of the pregnancy exceeds this term, we speak of "fetal death in utero". The death of the fetus in the mother's uterus. More on this in a future blog post.

What's the difference between an IMG and an abortion?

Abortion is the voluntary termination of pregnancy. The reasons for an abortion are specific to each couple (economic reasons, contraception accidents, etc.).

A medical abortion is induced for medical reasons, often due to a genetic abnormality or illness of the fetus that calls into question its future life and quality of life. An IMG can also be performed if the mother's life is in danger (an extra-uterine pregnancy, for example).

Whether for personal or medical reasons, you have the right to be accompanied in terminating your pregnancy.

How is an abortion triggered?

To initiate an abortion, you need to undergo two medical consultations (with a doctor, gynecologist or family planner) to find out about your options and rights, and to help you reflect on your options. The doctor swill also ensure that you are free to decide. The two appointments are separated by 7 days. In France, a doctor can refuse this consultation, but must OBLIGATORY refer you to a colleague who can follow the procedure. Some doctors in France refuse to perform abortions. This is their right. But they don't have the right not to refer you. This is illegal.

At the end of these appointments, depending on the progress of your pregnancy, you will be able to choose, in accordance with the specialist's advice, between two abortions procedures. An abortion by aspiration of the fetus, or a medically induced abortion..

What is medical abortion?

Medical abortion is effective in 95% of cases. This method is not a surgical procedure. It is possible in France up to 5 weeks of pregnancy, i.e. 7 weeks of absence from periods. Under medical supervision, two drugs are taken to induce abortion.

The first (mifepristone) stops and interrupts pregnancy. Its aim is to trigger uterine contractions and cervical dilation. 

The second (misoprostol), administered around 2 days later, will cause the egg to be expelled vaginally. The expulsion of the egg may take place during medical supervision or arrive at home. It will take the form of very heavy bleeding. You can have your doctor prescribe painkillers. You are also entitled to be accompanied by a psychologist if you need help to get through this stage.

What is fetal vacuum aspiration?

This method is effective in 99.7% of cases. It can be performed up to 12 weeks of pregnancy or 14 weeks since the last periods. It is a surgical procedure requiring general or local anesthesia, depending on your state of health and preference. The entire procedure takes around 20 minutes. During this time, the doctor dilates the cervix and sucks out everything (embryo/fetus, placenta) using a small tube. Following this procedure, you may experience stomach pains, blood loss such as periods or fever. We strongly recommend that you contact a doctor if these symptoms persist or become severe.

What difficulties does an abortion entail?

In France today, some doctors refuse to perform abortions, invoking a conscience clause. Some go even further, complicating laccess to labortion, which is a fundamental right.

Today, abortion is limited to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Beyond that, it is impossible to have an abortion in France. Many women travel to Europe to have an abortion.

Many websites and forums are directly or indirectly opposed to abortion. Beware of sites and hotlines that devote much of their content to maternity, and to the supposed complications and traumas (mortality, depression, sterility, etc.) associated with an abortion.

If you are a minor, you need written consent from an adult. Minors are also required to take part in a psychosocial interview before lthe procedure. Minors who wish to have an abortion are usually accompanied by their parents. If this is not possible, you can choose any adult to accompany the minor throughout the lprocedure. Bear in mind that professional secrecy will be maintained!  


Which sites are reliable for talking about abortion?

Give preference to official information and dialogue with healthcare professionals. Don't let your decisions be taken lightly:


Below is the official state website and an anonymous, toll-free number where you can talk to healthcare professionals.


  • the free, anonymous "sexuality, contraception, abortion" number 0800 08 11 11
  • (website created by the Association nationale des centers d'IVG et de contraception)
  • planning centers
  • information and consultation facilities

Because Elia is much more than a brand of menstrual panties, we'll always be here to share as much information as possible with you!

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.