The number of abortions in France dropped four per cent in 2020, probably due to a drop in the number of babies conceived during the first Covid lockdown last spring.
The health ministry's statistics office reported 222,000 abortions in France in 2020, 11,000 fewer than in 2019. Among 15 to 49 year-old-women, 14.9 out of 1,000 had an abortion, compared to 15.6 out of 1,000 the year before.
The drop was particularly notable in May and June 2020, weeks after the start of the first Covid confinement in March.
"This drop is explained probably by a drop in conceptions during the first confinement,” the office wrote, as demographic statistics also show a drop in births in France at the end of 2020 and the start of 2021.
"The biggest impact of confinement is a simultaneous drop in pregnancies, whether they were wanted or not.”
Abortion remained accessible
"The health crisis did not bring about more late-term abortions,” reported the statistics office, which would indicate difficultly in accessing the procedure.
In addition, hospitals saw a significant drop of the procedures, with 154,000, compared to 170,000 the year before.
Hospitals encouraged women to turn to private doctors, to free un resources to treat Covid patients.
The shift “can also be explained by the fear of being contaminated,” reported the statistics office.