Would the WHO endorse “an unconditional abortion for up to nine months” as France Soir claims?

“Almost all deaths and injuries resulting from unsafe abortion are entirely preventable,” the World Health Organization (WHO) stated on March 9, presenting new recommendations based on several studies aimed at increasing access to abortion worldwide support financially. A document picked up notably by the France Soir blog, which on March 29 had the headline “WHO recommends unconditional abortion for up to nine months”.

This article from the online blog, which specifically advocates the use of hydroxychloroquine in the fight against Covid-19, has been shared more than 2,500 times on Facebook, according to the Crowdtangle tool. This article was also Split by Jérôme Rivière, MEP and spokesperson for Eric Zemmour, as discovered by LCI.

The WHO would also recommend curtailing the rights of health professionals to refuse abortions on grounds of conscience or to “no longer require women to have the consent of a doctor or nurse to have an abortion.” “. These claims had already been made in the British newspaper a few days earlier The Post on SundayBelonging to the same group as the Daily mail.


Based on studies, the WHO recommends lifting deadlines for abortion, as these delay access to abortion or have consequences for the woman’s health. The international organization states that “pregnancy can be safely terminated regardless of gestational age. [qui correspond au nombre de semaines après les dernières règles] “. She adds that “gestational age limits are not based on evidence”.

To make this recommendation, which the organization made in a previous report in 2012, WHO reviewed 21 studies published between 2010 and 2020 and conducted in seven countries (Austria, Belgium, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa, the UK and the USA) were carried out. . Setting an age limit for pregnancy delays access to abortion, “particularly for women who are seeking an abortion at a later gestational age, women near the age limit for pregnancy, and women living in areas where access to clinics is restricted . These limitations are also “linked to increased maternal mortality rates and poor health outcomes.”

“Restricting access to abortion does not reduce the number of abortions”

Some women undergoing an abortion are particularly affected by these limitations: “cognitively impaired women, adolescents, younger women, [celles] live farther away from clinics [celles] who have to travel for an abortion, [celles] with a lower level of education” and finally “ [celles] get into financial difficulties and [celles] unemployed “.

The WHO emphasizes this 20 minutes that “when services are available and accessible, the majority of abortions occur at an early stage,” accounting for “more than 90% of abortions” in “high-income countries.” The organization also reminds that “limiting access to abortion does not reduce the number of abortions, but increases the likelihood that women and young girls will resort to dangerous means”. She points out that “More than 25 million unsafe abortions are performed each year, endangering the lives and well-being of women and girls worldwide. »

Repeal third-party authorization permissions to promote access to abortion

The France Soir article makes further claims about these WHO recommendations. It states that the organization would work to ensure “that women no longer need the consent of a doctor or nurse to have an abortion”. In its recommendation #7, the WHO recommends rescinding all authorizations for abortion by a third party, whether that third party is “a parent,” a “spouse,” or even a “healthcare professional.” Again, the WHO relied on studies, 32 in total, showing that this type of authorization delays access to abortion.

The WHO would also recommend establishing “pills in the mail” so women can receive abortion drugs after a phone call, according to France Soir and the post on Sunday. This method is not explicitly mentioned in the WHO document. The international organization recalled 20 minutes that “when the abortion is performed according to a method recommended by the WHO, adapted to the length of the pregnancy and assisted by a person with the necessary information or skills, it is a simple and extremely safe procedure”. For the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the WHO recommends two methods, including medical abortion. This “can be safely managed, in whole or in part, by the pregnant person outside of a healthcare facility (e.g. at home)”, specifies the WHO.

This abortion must be performed with support: “This requires that the woman has access to accurate information, to quality medication and to the support of a qualified health worker (if she needs it or if she wants it during the process). »

Last point raised by France Soir and the post on Sunday, the WHO would recommend “restricting the right of health professionals to refuse to participate in abortions on grounds of conscience”. This is exactly what the WHO does not recommend: It advises organizing health systems in such a way that conscientious objection “does not endanger or impede” access to abortion. However, she warns against it “if it proves impossible
to regulate conscientious objection in a way that respects, protects and fulfills the rights of abortion seekers, conscientious objection to abortion could become untenable.

In France, abortion is practiced up to 14 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period, i.e. 12 weeks of pregnancy. Before an abortion, two medical consultations are obligatory, in the case of minors a psychosocial consultation is added. A woman who wants to terminate a pregnancy does not have to pay anything, the costs are covered 100% by health insurance. Finally, after the abortion, a follow-up visit takes place.

A medical termination of pregnancy (IMG) can also be performed at any time during pregnancy, according to the Servicepublic.fr website. This is possible in two scenarios: when “the continuation of the pregnancy seriously endangers the woman’s health” or when “there is a high probability that the unborn child will be affected by a serious illness recognized as incurable”.

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