Dutch Minister of Health proposes restrictions on Dutch abortion law

For immediate release 27-6-2016:
The Dutch Minister of Health has announced that she will send a law proposal to the Dutch Parliament that will effectively criminalise the termination of a very early pregnancy (overtijd behandeling). By doing this she will required doctors to apply for a special licence in order to do the early abortions, if they do not have the license and provide the abortion pill for very early abortions, doctors can go to jail for 4 years.

Now doctors can provide very early abortions without a special license as confirmed by the for the last time in 2006 by the Dutch court (Raad van State (rov. 2.1.2), ECLI:NL:RVS:2006:AW:7365, GJ 2006, 99: “Voor het verlenen van een vergunning is van belang in welk stadium de zwangerschap zich bevindt. Voor de overtijdbehandeling, die tot zestien dagen na de laatste menstruatie plaatsvindt, is op zichzelf geen vergunning als bedoeld in artikel 2 van de Waz nodig.” )

Only a month ago Women on Waves and the Clara Wichmann Foundation together with primary care physicians filed a complaint at the Dutch court against the Ministry of Health for obstructing the provision of early abortions by family physicians. (click here to read the full text of the complaint in Dutch.)

The complaint still has to be heard in court and argues that under current Dutch law the termination of a very early pregnancy through medication provided by the primary care physician is safe and legal.

By proposing to bring very early abortions under the criminal law, (see middle page 3 letter minister),  the Minister will restrict the current abortion law. 

Women on Waves and the Clara Wichmann Foundation have stated that the new legislative proposal by the minister of health is a violation of international women’s and human rights agreements and contrary to the advice of the UN human rights commission and the guidelines of World Health Organisation to decriminalise abortion services and remove all obstacles for the provision abortion services. 

Click here to read the announcement of the minister can be read here in Dutch.  


For more information

Women on Waves - Rebecca Gomperts +31652052561 of info@womenonwaves.org

Proefprocessenfonds Clara Wichmann - Anniek de Ruijter (president+31 634319247)


 link to Dutch CEDAW- shaddow report