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Fifty years of legal contraception in France:diffusion, medicalization, feminization

Population and Societies

549, November 2017

n° ISSN 0184 77 83

By legalizing access to “anti-conceptional” methods, France’s Neuwirth Law paved the way for the diffusion of the contraceptive pill and the IUD, and for the medicalization of contraception. The birth control pill is now the most widely used method in France, though in third place at the international level, behind male and female sterilization, and the IUD. Since 2012 and the “pill scare” around new generations of birth control pills, pill use has decreased in France in favour of other methods, though the pill is still most commonly used. The recent controversy around
the pill has opened up critical perspectives on the French contraceptive model, which may evolve toward more equal sharing of the responsibility for contraception between men and women. 

The pill is the most widely used contraceptive method in France today. Is this also the case in other countries across the world? For the fiftieth anniversary of France’s Neuwirth Law legalizing contraception, Mireille Le Guen and her colleagues from the Junior Lab Contraception&Genre review five decades of contraception history in France, comparing the French context to other contraceptive situations in the world.

Mireille Le Guen , Alexandra Roux, Mylène Rouzaud-Cornabas, Leslie Fonquerne, Cécile Thomé and Cécile Ventola for the the Junior Lab Contraception&Genre

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