Dutch scrap mandatory abortion reflection period
Dutch parliamentarians on Tuesday approved a law to scrap a mandatory five-day reflection period before undergoing an abortion, saying women themselves should be able to determine the time before making a decision.
A majority of MPs and senators believe that “the abolition of the mandatory cooling-off period does justice to women’s autonomy and their right to self-determination,” the upper house of parliament said in a statement.
The bill — first tabled by four progressive, environmental liberal and labour MPs — was approved by a large majority in the lower house and on Tuesday, senators from the ruling coalition and opposition parties did the same.
Christian, conservative and far-right parties voted against the move, arguing that the abolition of the so-called “reflection period” would be detrimental to the right to life of an unborn child.
The bill’s initiators however said “various studies show that woman and doctors are quite capable of making a well-considered and careful decision, even without a mandatory minimum consultation period,” the senate statement said.
The law is set to come into effect in January next year, the NOS public broadcaster said quoting the Dutch health ministry.
Abortion has been legal in the Netherlands since 1984. It is permitted up to twenty-four weeks of pregnancy, but most doctors draw the line at 22 weeks.