Midwives finally authorized to practice instrumental abortion under the same conditions as doctors

Specially trained midwives will now be able to perform instrumental voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) in health establishments under the same safety conditions as doctors, under a decree published on Wednesday April 24 in the Official Journal, which simplifies procedures, to promote access to abortion in the territory

Midwives finally authorized to practice instrumental abortion under the same conditions as doctors

Specially trained midwives will now be able to perform instrumental voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) in health establishments under the same safety conditions as doctors, under a decree published on Wednesday April 24 in the Official Journal, which simplifies procedures, to promote access to abortion in the territory.

A first version of the decree, published in mid-December, was widely criticized by midwives' organizations because it provided for "restrictive" practice conditions, going well beyond the safeguards now required when the gesture is carried out by a gynecologist or general practitioner.

The December decree required the simultaneous presence in the establishment of a doctor specializing in orthogenics, a gynecologist-obstetrician, an anesthesiologist and an embolization tray (to manage extremely rare complications), conditions under which Only large maternity wards, particularly those in university hospitals, respond. These conditions also went beyond those required for childbirth, which is nevertheless more risky according to the professionals.

A first text deemed “counterproductive”

Midwives and associations fighting for women's rights quickly denounced a "counterproductive" text, going "against its objectives", since it did not make it possible to develop access to abortion in medical deserts.

The new decree removes these restrictive conditions. It “defines new training conditions for professionals and simpler organizational conditions,” specifies the Ministry of Health in a press release. “The terms of care as well as the procedure in the event of complications will now be identical regardless of the professional performing the act of instrumental abortion, thereby fully recognizing the role and expertise of midwives,” continues -he.

“As long as they do it in an establishment which has authorization for this type of act, there is no need to have, alongside them, a doctor who, above their shoulder, would check what they would do,” Frédéric Valletoux argued on Wednesday on France Inter. This measure will “facilitate access” to abortion, while instrumental abortions represent approximately “20% of abortions performed” in France, he added.

Since 2016, midwives have already been able to perform medical abortion.