Netherlands permits GPs to prescribe abortion pills

Netherlands permits GPs to prescribe abortion pills
Photo: Myriam Zilles - Unsplash – The Dutch Senate has on Tuesday approved a bill which makes it possible for doctors to prescribe an abortion pill to women who wish to terminate their pregnancies. Until this point, the pill had to be requested from an abortion clinic. 

This is the second change to the abortion law, which was first implemented in 1984, in a short period of time. Earlier in 2022, the parliament abolished the mandatory five-day “cooling-off period” that had previously been in place for women wishing to have an abortion. 

Supporters of the change have argued that is gives more freedom for women given that previously they had to attend one of just 16 abortion clinics in the country in order to have a pregnancy terminated. This was a particular issue given that in some parts of the country there is no local clinic. 

According to the new legislation, women who are up to nine weeks pregnant can be prescribed the pill by their GP (local doctor). However, it will still depend on GPs to decide whether or not to offer the prescription. 

There are some suggestions that this new change will mean that there will be less demand for abortion clinics in the country, perhaps leading to the closure of some of them. Minister of Public Health Ernst Kuipers said he did not wish to guarantee that all would remain operational, but said that a network with national coverage will continue to exist. 

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