Waiting lists and travelling times mount following abortion clinic bankruptcy

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The bankruptcy of abortion clinic chain Casa means women are having to wait longer and travel longer distances for an abortion, the NRC reported on Friday. The closure of the seven Casa clinics, which carried out half the abortions performed in the Netherlands every year, means Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Maastricht no longer have a specialist unit. Women are now travelling to Roermond, Utrecht and Groningen for the operation as waiting lists double to up to two weeks in places. 'We are doing what we can, but it has to be done safely and there needs to be a bed,' Thea Schipper, director of the clinic in Heemstede told the NRC. 'I have taken on two extra receptionists because the phone does not stop ringing.' Capacity Health minister Bruno Bruins told parliament last week that the remaining seven specialist clinics in the Netherlands would be able to absorb the fall out from the bankruptcy. While in the short term this may be possible, in the long term a clinic which carries out 3,000 abortions a year cannot carry out a further 1,800 on top, Schipper said. Low rate Some 30,800 abortions are carried out in the Netherlands on an annual basis and around12.5% are carried out on women who live abroad where the rules are more restrictive. However, the rate of abortions compared to live pregnancies is still one of the lowest in the world at 8.6 per 1000. Most procedures involved women aged 25 to 30 years old and in around one in 20 terminations, the foetus had been diagnosed with a serious medical condition.  More >