Family doctors will be allowed to prescribe abortion pills now that the senate has given its backing to new legislation.
Most parties in the senate, apart from the far right PVV and FvD, and two minor religious parties, voted in favour of the bill.
At the moment anyone who needs to terminate a pregnancy in the first nine weeks has to go to an abortion clinic. The new law is aimed at widening options for women who may find a visit to a clinic too difficult. Earlier parliament scrapped the need for a pre-abortion wait.
Family doctors will have to undergo extra training before they can prescribe the drug but are under no obligation to provide it.
The national society of abortion doctors NGvA had earlier expressed their worry about the risk that some family doctors might try to interfere with their patients’ wishes.
‘The important thing for us is that quality comes first if family doctors are allowed to offer this support,’ said chairwoman Monique Opheij.
‘But one of our concerns is: how will a woman know if her doctor is prepared to support her abortion? In our case you can say that we take a neutral approach because this is our daily work. But sadly we see in our practice that family doctors sometimes delay or disrupt the process.’
Four out of 16 abortion clinics nationwide have said they may have to close once family doctors have taken over because of the impact on their funding.
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