French Pill, A Revolution for Women (The)


2015, France
Original language
Running time
discovery, women, eminent scientists, society
Directed by
Charles Castella et Ted Anspach
Written by
Simone Halberstadt Harari
Produced by
Effervescence Doc Bankizz ARTE France
Member page
Effervescence DOC

1982, Prof. Etienne-Emile Baulieu's discovery of the abortive pill RU-486 (an acronym for the Roussel-Uclaf laboratory) triggered intensely passionate debates, seven years after the law legalizing abortion. Long years of a fierce battle would ensue until it was actually made available to women. Immediately targeted by the anti-abortion pro-life movement, RU-486 became the focus of a virulent ban campaign, never on scientific or medical grounds but on religious, or ideological ones. In France, as well as in Germany, Italy, Spain, or in the US, women's rights activists are rallying to challenge vociferous and highly structured oppositions. Why would a medical abortion be so controversial? It is a less invasive and less brutal procedure which can be done earlier and cheaper than a surgical intervention. It all comes down to the issue of the rights of women to have control over their own bodies and their reproduction.