France's National Assembly voted Oct. 26 to increase coverage of both surgical and chemical abortions for 2013 to 100 percent, according to reports in the Associated Press, LifeSite News and other media.
"This news is doubly troubling," said C. Ben Mitchell, professor of moral philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. "Obviously the policy will increase the number of unborn lives lost. That's the first tragedy.
"The second is that France now has a negative replacement rate. The number of native French is shrinking. Yet the Muslim population is growing rapidly. The future of France will increasingly look less like Paris and more like Islamabad," Mitchell told Baptist Press.
French law now covers 70 percent of the cost for chemical abortions and 80 percent for surgical abortions.
The assembly also approved the cost-free provision of all contraceptives to girls between 15 and 18 years old. This includes contraceptives that can cause abortions.
"Women who want to stop an unwanted pregnancy have the right to be covered: The enactment of the right to choose to halt a pregnancy is an obligatory state service," the bill says, according to the Associated Press.
Minors in France can have abortions without parental consent, and France was the first country to introduce the abortion drug RU-486, the AP noted.
The French Senate, which is controlled by the Socialist Party, is expected to approve both proposals, LifeSite News reported.
If enacted, the law will require about $17.5 million in public funds each year to pay for abortions, but the cost could jump to $40 million if the government enacts a plan for increased rates for abortion coverage promoted by the country's health minister. The expense will be paid for with a tax on retirees to avoid adding to the French health care system's $30 billion deficit, noted Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, wrote at National Review Online.
Abortions number an estimated 225,000 per year in France, though 95 percent of sexually active women use contraception, according to LifeSite News.
The expansion of abortion funding was among the campaign promises by France's new president, Francois Hollande, before he and his Socialist Party prevailed in May's elections, defeating the conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
"This decision, like the others before, shows the bizarre set of priorities of the new French president," de Rugy wrote. "At a time when France's economic growth rate is zero for the second quarter in a row, you would think that Hollande's government would be more serious about addressing the economy's problems. One way would be to announce that he will renounce his oppressive tax program and finally start cutting spending. But I am afraid he will only consider those options when the country is on the verge of government-caused collapse."
Compiled by John Evans, a writer based in Houston; Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press; and BP editor Art Toalston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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