Saturday 04 February 2023

Abortion pills to be made available through family doctors

Photo: depositphotos

Family doctors could be allowed to prescribe abortion pills directly if parliament passes a bill submitted by centre-left parties PvdA and GroenLinks.

The liberal coalition parties VVD and D66 are also supporting the proposed change, which is designed to lower the threshold for women who want to end unwanted pregnancies. A majority of MPs are expected to back the bill, NOS reported.

At the moment anyone who needs the medicine to terminate a pregnancy in the first nine weeks has to go to an abortion clinic. Around 30,000 abortions take place in the Netherlands each year, with pills used in 31% of cases.

Ellen Giepmans of FIOM, an organisation specialising in unwanted pregnancy and parenthood issues, said it would give women more choice. ‘They can still go to a clinic, but they can also opt for their own doctor,’ she said.

The national society of abortion doctors NGvA cautiously welcomed the plan, but said there was a 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 chair 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.’

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