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Introduction: In France, “the pill crisis” has brought into question the centrality of oral contraception within the “contraceptive standard”, as well as the drawbacks associated with its use, and is more widely part of a dynamic of raising awareness about medical and gynecological violence, at work since the early 2010s.
Purpose of research: This paper intends to question the medical and gynecological violence faced by women seeking medical attention in order to access what is supposed to be a condition for their emancipation : contraception.
Method: As part of a sociological research project on the prescriptions and uses of oral contraception, nearly seventy interviews were conducted with seventeen users of oral contraception and thirty-one health professionals authorized to prescribe contraception. Ninety-five medical and gynecological consultations were also observed, in both public and private medical facilities.
Results: The use of oral contraception requires regular medical consultation, increasingly exposing users to the risk of medical and gynecological violence, with lack of consent at its core. The case study of a gynecological consultation, as well as the analysis of interviews and observations, reveal various forms of medical violence, with a focus on the patients’ dependence on the medical profession.
Conclusions: The interconnectedness of these different forms of medical and gynecological violence encourages us to consider them as part of a continuum of gender violence. An ethical caring stance makes it possible to guard against these situations.

  • contraceptive choice
  • contraception
  • pill scare
  • gender
  • healthcare workers
  • medical and gynecological violence
Leslie Fonquerne
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