Dispatch from the Netherlands: abortion rights

Dispatch from the Netherlands: abortion rights

blog
August 19, 2019

Abortion rights are an important part of SRHR and CHOICE advocates for access to safe and legal abortion worldwide. We do this in our UN advocacy work, but more recently CHOICErs have also started to track the national debate on abortion.

 

Currently, abortion in the Netherlands is in the criminal code (as it is in most countries), but exceptions are made when the procedure is done by a doctor in a licensed clinic up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. In practice this means abortion is available upon request until 22 weeks (as doctors hold a 2 week margin). There is a mandatory waiting period of 5 days. This waiting period does not apply to very early terminations of pregnancy (when you are less than 16 days late), as these terminations are not considered abortions under Dutch law. This law has been in place since 1984. Annually 8.6 abortions are performed per 1000 women aged 15-44, which is a relatively low number, compared to a global rate of around 30. Recently however, there have been worrisome developments, with the government pledging funding to anti-choice organisations and with increasing harassment by anti-choice protesters at clinics.

 

In 2017 CHOICE youth advocates organised the #IkKies (meaning ‘I Choose’) campaign to advocate for access to the abortion pill at general practitioners in the Netherlands. This year CHOICErs Linda, Margot, Krisztina and Lotte have been working on a new #IkKies campaign, which will launch this week. The campaign is aimed at countering misinformation and providing non-judgemental information for people that are considering an abortion in the Netherlands. Currently, websites ran by anti-choice organisations appear prominently in search engine results in the Netherlands. The campaign therefor direct to a fact-sheet and evidence based websites, so that (young) people across the Netherlands will become aware of where to turn to when they need information on abortion care. You can find the factsheet (in Dutch) here: Abortus Q&A.