A new campaign from France's leading organisation for the visually-impaired uses well-known politicians being guided by their equally well-known rivals.

"/> A new campaign from France's leading organisation for the visually-impaired uses well-known politicians being guided by their equally well-known rivals.

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HEALTH

Campaign shows ‘blind’ politicians with rivals

A new campaign from France's leading organisation for the visually-impaired uses well-known politicians being guided by their equally well-known rivals.

Campaign shows 'blind' politicians with rivals
Fédération des Aveugles et Handicapés Visuels de France

The images are being published in calendar format by the Federation for blind and visually-impaired of France, known as FAF.

In one image, President Nicolas Sarkozy is shown wearing dark glasses and being helped along by former prime minister and rival Dominique de Villepin. 

In another, the Socialist party’s François Hollande is shown being accompanied by the woman he beat in recent elections to be the party’s presidential candidate, general secretary Martine Aubry. A line on the image says “confidence in what you’re being told?”

Daily newspaper Le Parisien reported on Thursday that the federation is angry at broken promises by politicians over the years.

“The blind are people who put the most trust in others,” said Vincent Michel, president of the federation. 

“Yet, given the way we’ve been treated over recent years, we have the feeling we’ve been abused.”

Michel cited a number of initiatives that, he claims, have failed to live up to their promises.

These include a plan to make large-print books more widely available. “Today, just 3 percent of publications are adapted to the visually-impaired,” he said.

There are 80,000 blind people in France and a further 300,000 who are visually-impaired.

The FAF brings together 43 different associations and has 10,000 members.

The calendar featuring all the images will be available on the federation’s website (www.faf.asso.fr).

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HEALTH

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25

Free birth control for all women under 25 will be available in France from Saturday, expanding a scheme targeting under-18s to ensure young women don't stop taking contraception because they cannot afford it.

France brings in free contraception for all women aged 18-25
A doctor holds an interuterine contraceptive device (IUD) before inserting it in a patient. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP

The scheme, which could benefit three million women, covers the pill, IUDs, contraceptive patches and other methods composed of steroid hormones. Contraception for minors was already free in France.

Several European countries, including Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, make contraception free for teens. Britain makes several forms of contraception free to all.

France announced the extension to women under 25 in September, saying surveys showed a decline in the use of contraception mainly for financial reasons.

The move is part of a series of measures taken by President Emmanuel Macron’s government to boost women’s rights and alleviate youth poverty. The free provision is supported by women’s groups including the association En Avant Tous.

“Between 18 and 25-years-old, women are very vulnerable because they lose a lot of rights compared to when they were minors and are very precarious economically,” spokeswoman Louise Delavier told AFP.

Leslie Fonquerne, an expert in gender issues, said there was more to be done.

“This measure in no way resolves the imbalance in the contraceptive burden between women and men,” the sociologist said.

In some developed countries, the free contraception won by women after decades of campaigning is coming under attack again from the religious right.

In the United States, former president Barack Obama’s signature health reform, known as Obamacare, gave most people with health insurance free access to birth control.

But his successor Donald Trump scrapped the measure, allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage on religious grounds — a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2020.

Poland’s conservative government has also heavily restricted access to emergency contraception as part of its war on birth control.

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