The Dutch government has discussed this for years — making abortion pills available at the hands of general practitioners (GPs). Now, it looks like a majority of the new cabinet would vote in favour.
At the moment, it is unclear when the official vote will be passed. But it looks like Dutch parties PvdA, GroenLinks, VVD and D66 would vote in favour, while only the conservative ChristenUnie and CDA (Christen-Democratisch Appèl) would vote against.
Abortion in the Netherlands
At the moment, women choosing abortion in the Netherlands are referred to ‘abortion clinics’ (abortusklinieken). These institutions specialise in assisting women through expert consultation, mental support and, eventually, the termination of pregnancy.
It is illegal for Dutch GPs to prescribe abortion pills and, as a result, patients are usually transferred to said clinics.
Why the GP?
An argument in favour of making abortion pills available at the GP is to remove hurdles and make the process easier. “Almost 1 in 5 women in the Netherlands chooses abortion during her lifetime. And it happens so often, but we still criminalise it,” Eva de Goeij, tells RTL Nieuws.
De Goeij has undergone an abortion herself. She specifically critiques the obligatory 5-day wait, women are obliged to sit out in case they wish to change their minds.
“I was pregnant, but also ill from the pregnancy. So, I felt terrible, was very tired, and there was something growing in me I did not want at the time. So, I would have really appreciated it if I could have terminated the pregnancy earlier, without waiting the five days,” da Goeij says.
Offering abortion pills at the GP would mean that medical professionals would have to undergo special training. For patients, it would mean a more familiar atmosphere, quicker access to abortion pills and, hopefully, a less shameful, stressful and traumatising experience.
Concerns from the conservative side
“It’s a budding life, that you’re cutting off. Isn’t a higher threshold a good thing, in the end?” says ethics professor Theo Boer from the Protestants Theologische Universiteit. Especially, because abortion clinics have professionals trained to assist abortions.
What do you think about these plans to make abortion pills available at the GP? Tell us in the comments!
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