Choice Reiterates Unwavering Commitment to Safe Abortion and Bodily Autonomy
At Choice, we've always stood by a simple yet profound principle: that every individual has the right to make choices about their own body. This International Safe Abortion Day, we reaffirm our commitment to this fundamental belief and the fight for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
This year, we signed the statement issued by The European Safe Abortion Networking Group, a coalition of national, regional, and international SRHR organizations in Europe. Together, we aim to advocate for universal access to safe, legal abortion. But why is this fight so important in the European landscape?
The European Landscape
The journey towards universal access is far from complete. Many assume that the fight for safe and legal abortion in Europe has progressed over the years, but that's not the whole truth.
In some countries, abortion access is still limited, especially in the second and third trimesters. Obstacles and conditions exist, even though later abortions are rare and often. Moreover, abortion remains in the penal code of certain countries, perpetuating stigma and discrimination.
In some European nations (Poland, Monaco, Faroe Islands), abortion is entirely illegal, forcing women and pregnant people into the shadows to seek abortions outside the law. Advocates and women themselves are facing prosecution for their reproductive choices.
As we commemorate International Safe Abortion Day, we look forward to the future with a clear vision:
- Complete Decriminalization: We call for the complete decriminalization of abortion in all countries. It's not just about reducing maternal mortality; it's about ensuring bodily autonomy, and voluntary parenthood.
- Universal Access: We advocate for universal access to safe, legal abortions, from the earliest stages of pregnancy and as long as needed. Choice of method should be a given.
- Self-Managed Abortion: We support self-managed abortion with pills up to 12 weeks, aligning with the World Health Organization's recommendations.
This International Safe Abortion Day, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our partners, advocates, and individuals around the world who are dedicated to reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. Together, we can create a future where every person has the power to make informed choices about their own body.
Abortion in the Netherlands: Time for Change
In the Netherlands, the right to legal abortion is regulated by the Criminal Code and the Abortion Act (Termination of Pregnancy Act). These laws mean that abortion is, by default, illegal unless certain conditions are met. This legal framework not only hinders accessibility but also contributes to the persistent stigma and taboo surrounding abortion.
Abortus is Zorg: A citizens' initiative, named "Abortion is Care," by the Free Choice Coalition has garnered the support of almost 100,000 people. Yet, despite this massive show of public support, politicians have been slow to act.
The upcoming House of Representatives elections provide a critical opportunity to secure abortion rights in the Netherlands. The manifesto drafted by Vrije Keuze Coalitie (The Free Choice Coalition) backed by medical and legal experts, outlines the reasons why abortion should be removed from the Criminal Code and treated as normal care.
We advocate and call for this change for several compelling reasons:
- Unnecessary Complications: Current laws create unnecessary hurdles, permits, and agreements that complicate the process of obtaining an abortion. Abortion is no more complex than any other medical procedure, and there are existing regulations that safeguard its quality and safety.
- Impediment to Progress: The current legal framework impedes progress in abortion care. Innovations and improvements are often delayed due to the bureaucratic nature of political processes. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored this issue when the demand for home delivery of abortion pills went unmet due to the constraints of existing legislation.
- Perpetuating Shame and Taboo: As long as abortion remains in the Criminal Code, it remains an activity clouded in shame and secrecy. Outdated and misogynistic language further perpetuates this stigma, which hinders informed and thoughtful pregnancy choices.
Join Us on International Safe Abortion Day !
This Thursday, September 28, on International Safe Abortion Day, the Vrije Keuze Coalitie will be launching their manifesto. Together with law students, lawyers, doctors, and supporters, they are taking action by symbolically marking Criminal Codes with warning stickers. You can be part of the change and join them on September 28th, at 12:00 at Bezuidenhoutseweg 67 in The Hague.