Tuesday 21 March 2023

MPs vote overwhelmingly to abolish five day abortion wait in a free vote

Corinne Ellemeet (Groenlinks), Lilianne Ploumen (Pvda) and Attje Kuiken (Pvda) after the vote. Photo: Bart Maat ANP

As expected, a large majority of MPs have voted in favour of draft legislation which will eliminate the five-day waiting period for an abortion.

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

MPs were given a free vote on the issue, agreeing 101 to 38 to make the change. The three Christian parties, the far right FvD, most PVV MPs and two VVD parliamentarians voted against the bill.

The upper house of parliament still has to have its say on the legislation before it can become law.

A majority of MPs are also expected to back a bill allowing family doctors to prescribe abortion pills directly.

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 under the age of 30 and are carried out before the seventh week of pregnancy.

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