Although the Netherlands are known for their liberal stance on induced abortion, currently the issue is debated again. Two only slightly related subjects now gain considerably attention in popular media and public opinion.
The first is a slight change in policy regarding the use of the ‘abortion pill’ in very early pregnancies (before 16 days after a women was expected to start menstruating). The government decided that regulation regarding this procedure now is part of the abortion legislation (which is wasn’t). Although the government states that this does not change much for abortion practice, opponents argue that this results in a more restrictive abortion legislation.
Secondly, health inspection ordered the prosecution of Women on Waves, a Dutch organisation that uses boats to provide abortions and information to women in countries where abortion is prohibited. By sailing to international waters, their actions are regulated by Dutch legislation, providing a legal basis. Apparently, they violated the law by using the wrong type of boat.
Interestingly, a major Dutch newspaper featured an interview with Rebecca Gomperts, founder of Women on Waves, just this weekend. I’ve already rounded up some thoughts on this interview with the founder of Women on Waves, Rebecca Gomperts, which I will publish tomorrow. So, if you’re interested in this subject, do come back then!