Dutch women opting for illegal abortions abroad

12th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch gynaecologists association NVOG has admitted that Dutch women sometimes go abroad for an abortion after their 24th week of pregnancy, a procedure which is illegal in the Netherlands. "They go to Belgium or Great Britain under the guise of obtaining a second opinion," NVOG chairman Maarten Schutte told Radio 1 on Tuesday.

12 April 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch gynaecologists association NVOG has admitted that Dutch women sometimes go abroad for an abortion after their 24th week of pregnancy, a procedure which is illegal in the Netherlands.
 
"They go to Belgium or Great Britain under the guise of obtaining a second opinion," NVOG chairman Maarten Schutte told Radio 1 on Tuesday.

An abortion after the 24th week or pregnancy is generally illegal in the Netherlands, except when the foetus has serious abnormalities. If the unborn baby does not have a brain, the pregnancy can be terminated. However, missing limbs, for instance, do not meet these requirements to a legal abortion after 24 weeks.
 
"If the child has a viable chance of life, but has for example a serious bladder abnormality or spina bifida, women sometimes go abroad for an abortion. These women can then be prosecuted in the Netherlands," Schutte said.

The NVOG boss also admitted that he has referred one woman to Belgium for a second opinion. In that case, the baby was born before an abortion could be performed.

"The woman could otherwise have faced prosecution. But you can also question who would report the matter in such a case?" he said.
 
Schutte insisted the NVOG does not breach abortion regulations, but admitted that some doctors decided otherwise in individual cases.

He said there are very serious cases of unborn children with spina bifida, for example, in which there is a temptation to abort the pregnancy, but he rejected moves to adjust Dutch legislation in response to these cases.

Although some people do not accept small foetal abnormalities, Schutte said the NVOG does not assist in the termination of such pregnancies.

Meanwhile, it was reported last month that the number of abortions performed by the Centre for Contraception, Sexuality and Abortion (CASA) rose slightly in 2004.

The organisation said it was not clear if the increase could be attributed to the changes to the ziekenfonds public health insurance scheme in which the pill is no longer reimbursed. The change is part of widespread government cutbacks.

CASA performs about one-third of all abortions in the Netherlands.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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