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LES ECHOS

On The Road (And Brink) With French Country Doctors

A close-up look the problem of so-called “medical desertification” in rural France, where doctors are stretched to the limit and patients worry not to get sick on the wrong day of the week.

A small-town pharmacy in Brittany
A small-town pharmacy in Brittany
Laetitia Clavreul

SAINT-URCIZE - "In rural areas, it's better to be a cow than a man." This was back in February 2009, during a French Parliament debate on the Hospital, Patients, Health and Territories bill, and Pierre Morel-A-L'Huissier was being provocative. "But nothing has changed since regarding medical deserts," the Parliament member from the ruling center-right UMP party says now. "Funding grants, medical housing… regions, counties: everyone is trying to find solutions, so there's no coordination and not enough money."

But besides his role in Parliament, Morel-A-L'Huissier is also the mayor of Fournels, a small town in central France. His goal here is to create a "socio-medical" center, which unlike a traditional health facility can be certified with only one doctor rather than the minimum of two. "I keep being asked if the local doctor is going to stay," he says.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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