Wednesday 21 April 2021

MPs vote to scrap pre-abortion waiting time, and to again insure contraception

The Netherlands has never had a female prime minister. Photo:

As expected, MPs have voted in favour of a Labour party and GroenLinks motion to remove the compulsory five day wait before women can have an abortion.

The three Christian parties and Denk voted against the proposal.

‘This is a great step in strengthening women’s right to make their own choices at their own speed and in their own way,’ said GroenLinks MP Corinne Ellemeet after the vote.

The wait currently applies to all women who are more than 16 days pregnant and want an abortion. It was included in Dutch abortion law when the practice became legal in early 1980s and has been controversial ever since.

It is unclear what will now happen to the motion, given that health minister Hugo de Jonge has already said he will not deal with any major ethical issues before the March general election.

The rate of abortions compared to live pregnancies in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in the world at 8.8 per 1000 in 2018. Most procedures involved women from 25 to 30 years old  and are carried out before the seventh week of pregnancy.

MPs also voted to put contraceptives, including the birth control pill, back in the basic health insurance package.

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