France is offering free contraceptives to women up to age 25, the country's top health official announced Thursday.
The new initiative, which begins next year, aims to help support women with the cost of protecting against pregnancy, The New York Times reports.
"It is unbearable that young women cannot protect themselves, cannot have contraception if they choose to do so because it is too expensive for them," Olivier Véran, France's health minister, said on public broadcaster France 2.
Véran added that the government witnessed a decline in contraceptive use among "a certain number of young women."
Under the plan, the French government will dedicate about 21 million euros — or nearly $25 million — to cover the cost of various types of contraceptives, IUDs included. The budget will also cover any consultations on contraceptive use.
Véran explained that the government landed on 25 as the top of the age bracket "because it is an age that corresponds, in terms of economic life, social life and income, with more autonomy."
Marianne Niosi, director of the National Confederation of Family Planning, said she and her organization are hoping for more expansive measures in the future.
"We want free contraception for everyone," she said. Still, she asked, "Will people be aware that they are entitled to it?"
France previously offered free contraceptive methods to all girls up to age 18, ABC News reports. The new measure increases the age to 25.
In today's announcement, Véran did not say if the government would cover contraceptive methods for men, or if the measure would also extend to trans and nonbinary people.
Céline Caron, a 20-year-old college student, told The Times that while the new measure did target economic inequality, it did not address gender inequality.
"In the end, the responsibility for contraception will fall even more on women who can be told that they have no reason not to take the pill," Caron said.
France's new measure comes as reproductive rights are under attack across the globe. Texas made headlines earlier this month for passing an extreme abortion bill banning the practice in the state for pregnancies past six weeks.
In January, Poland caused international uproar for banning nearly all abortions in the country.