Women to sue France over faulty implants

A dozen French women who have received faulty PIP breast implants say they want to sue the state for its failure to reimburse them for breast replacement surgery.

Women to sue France over faulty implants
Webphotographeer (File)

French authorities are only reimbursing the removal and replacement of PIP implants for women who received the implants for medical reasons. Women who chose to get breast implants for cosmetic reasons will not be reimbursed for replacement surgery.

Speaking on French radio Europe 1, one of the women said the different treatment is tantamount to discrimation.

“I don’t understant why there are so-called real victims on the one hand and bad victims on the other,” said Valerie, one of the women who wants to sue the state.

“I was extremely flat-chested and suffered from all sorts of problems, an image problem, depression, things like that. When I had the operation, things got a lot better for me.”

French implant manufacturer PIP was closed down by health authorities after they discovered the firm was using non-medical silicone gel in implants which were twice as likely to rupture as other products in the same category.

While it is feared that the silicone gel used in the PIP implants is linked to cancer, French health authorities have not been able to establish a link.

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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.