Dutch protests for abortion rights: what’s it all about?

This weekend, hundreds of people gathered at Dam Square in Amsterdam to protest in solidarity for the right to abortion in the United States.

Last week, a leaked draft ruling showed that the Supreme Court has voted to topple the standing right to abortion in the United States, as revealed by Politico.

Usually, a ruling such as this is kept secret until a decision has officially been made. The leak led to solidarity protests worldwide — including in the Netherlands.

The protest was organised by @baasineigenbuik2022. Image: luciano.enchanted/Supplied

Protest on Dam Square

The protest in Amsterdam took place on Saturday at Dam Square, reports the NOS. Aside from several hundred protestors there were also bigger organisations present such as Amnesty International and Women Inc.

The Amsterdam police unit says that the protests were peaceful until about 20 to 30 people diverged to protest in front of the American embassy.

In the process, public transport was blocked or disrupted. A 27-year old woman was caught spraying a tram with graffiti and arrested. Consequently, protestors turned against the police.

After issuing repeated warnings to the group of protestors, the police saw “no other possibility but to use violence”, says the official police statement.

“Demonstrating for the right of #abortion in #Amsterdam. Also for the next generation.”

Why do the Dutch care about US abortion rights?

The protestors were motivated by the fear that the overturning of abortion rights in the US could have a ripple effect and spark similar sentiments in the Netherlands.

“The right to abortion is a human right, but this is not at all self-evident,” one organiser of the protest tells the NOS. “It’s unbelievable that the right to abortion, which we’ve fought so hard for, is now drawn into question again.”

Speaker in the video: “Because we deserve it. We deserve it. The women and girls that come after us. Our nieces, our sisters, our mothers…”

Abortion in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, about 30,000 women undergo an abortion per year. At the moment, women choosing to get an abortion are referred to so-called ‘abortion clinics’ (abortusklinieken).

This process has been criticised by Dutch feminists and pro-choice activists because there are several steps involved that extend the process of getting an abortion: a consultation with the GP, a mandatory waiting time and only then, the transfer to the abortion clinic.

READ MORE | Dutch parliament rules abortion pill should be available at GP

After heavy criticism, the Dutch government has introduced policies to remove hurdles to abortion for women. In February, the mandatory reflection time was scrapped. Now, the Dutch government is discussing making abortion pills available at the GP.

What is your take on abortion rights in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments.

Feature Image: luciano.enchanted/Supplied

Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara Räker 🇩🇪
Cara moved to the Netherlands at fifteen and she is here to stay! After all, there is so much to love about it, except maybe the bread (as every German will tell you). Next to finishing up her bachelor's degree in European politics (dry), Cara loves to do yoga, swim, and cook delicious veggie food.


  1. Even if Roe v Wade is completely overturned abortion will NOT be made illegal in America. It will be up to each state if it wants legal abortion or not. There is no way New York, Massachusetts, California or Washington (to name only a few) will make it illegal. To suggest otherwise is simply not true.


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