Donner: late-term abortion abroad not a crime

13th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch gynaecologists who inform women they can undergo an abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy in Belgium or Britain are not liable to prosecution in the Netherlands, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said on Tuesday.

13 April 2005

AMSTERDAM — Dutch gynaecologists who inform women they can undergo an abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy in Belgium or Britain are not liable to prosecution in the Netherlands, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said on Tuesday.

Donner also told the Lower House of Parliament that women who undergo these types of abortions abroad — a procedure which is illegal in the Netherlands in the absence of serious foetal abnormalities — will not be prosecuted either.

The Christian Democrat CDA minister was responding to questions posed by the small Christian party SGP after the Dutch gynaecologists association NVOG revealed that some women are seeking late-term abortions abroad.

But Donner reminded MPs of the 'double punishment clause', which means that Dutch nationals can be prosecuted for an act that is illegal in the Netherlands, only if the act is also illegal in the country where the act was committed.

Under current regulations, the only exception to this rule is female circumcision and genital mutilation. 

However, Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst said he will examine the issue and discuss late-term abortions with the NVOG. The minister wants to obtain a better picture of the situation and investigate why some Dutch women only opt for abortion at the end of the period in which abortions are legal.

Health State Secretary Clemence Ross said in the television programme Netwerk on Tuesday night that she will instruct the Healthcare Inspectorate to investigate the matter. She also said the NVOG must abide by current regulations.

NVOG chairman Maarten Schutte said gynaecologists urge women to go to Belgium or Britain under the guise of seeking a second opinion. Here, they can undergo a late-term abortion.

Due to the fact that an abortion after the 24th week or pregnancy is generally illegal in the Netherlands, except when the foetus has serious abnormalities, Schutte said these women face prosecution back at home.

But Minister Donner categorically dismissed this suggestion later on Tuesday.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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