Dutch abortions fall for the first time in 10 years

9th January 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 January 2004, AMSTERDAM — For the first time in 10 years, the number of abortions carried out annually in the Netherlands has declined, according to new figures. But the number of teenagers and immigrant women undergoing abortions rose.

9 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — For the first time in 10 years, the number of abortions carried out annually in the Netherlands has declined, according to new figures. But the number of teenagers and immigrant women undergoing abortions rose.

Newspaper Trouw reported on Friday that 8.7 abortions per 1,000 women were carried out in 2002. At the beginning of the 1990s, there were 5.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the Netherlands.
 
Geboorteregeling West – en – Zuid Nederland (GWN), a national organisation offering family planning and sexual health care assistance, said that 9,776 terminations were carried at its five clinics last year, about 2 percent down on the 2002 figure.

About 30 percent of all abortions in the Netherlands are performed at GWN's clinics in Maastricht, Goes, Leiden, Rotterdam and The Hague.

The other nine Dutch abortion centres have not yet completed compiling figures for abortions at those locations, but the general indication is that the GWN report gives an accurate reflection of the situation nationally, Trouw said.

GWN spokeswoman Petra Siepman said the drop seemed to be a national trend, but that there was no clear explanation for the first decline in abortions since 1992.

But Siepman said that a declining number of asylum seekers — and in particular young women with an unwanted pregnancy — being admitted to the Netherlands might be a factor in the drop.

A second factor was the fall in so-called abortion tourism. Siepman said that the GWN clinics in Maastricht and Goes in particular noted a decline in the number of abortion requests from women from other countries.

This was partly due to the fact, Siepman said, because the Belgian government had recently started providing financial reimbursements for abortions carried out in Belgium.

But Siepman said the latest figures were no cause for satisfaction as the figures for immigrant women undergoing abortions remained high. More than half of all abortions are performed on women from an immigrant background. 

The number of young women, aged from 15 to 19, undergoing a termination rose from 4,400 in 2002 to 5,400 last year. The largest part of this group was native Dutch girls.

"Girls of 15, 16 years, we see at least one every day. And if I ask why she didn't use a condom, she says, 'I don't know'," abortion doctor Hanneke Bolt told the newspaper.

The same trend is apparent among the girls aged 13 to 14, with the number of abortions in that group doubling in 2003.

"They appear not to be assertive enough with their boyfriends. Such young girls are not capable of protecting themselves; it takes maturity to set limits [on intimate contact]," Bolt added.

The GWN clinics in The Hague and Rotterdam are this year launching a study into the reasons behind teen abortions.

Bolt said young girls must be advised about responsible behaviour, but she added that the only realistic way to cut abortion figures was to make the morning-after pill freely available. "Many doctors agree with me on this. It works in France," she claimed.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + abortion figures

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