GroenLinks-PvdA submit bill to remove abortion from Criminal Code

November 15, 2023  –THE HAGUE – GroenLinks-PvdA will submit a bill on Wednesday to remove abortion from the Criminal Code. Abortion is healthcare, not a crime, according to initiator Corinne Ellemeet. By making criminal law the starting point for abortion, you criminalize the doctor and stigmatize the person who gets the abortion, said the outgoing parliamentarian. 

Article 296 of the Criminal Code stipulates that the person who performs an abortion is punishable unless the abortion happens in a special clinic or hospital. That is only allowed under conditions stated in the Termination of Pregnancy Act. The Abortion Care Act of GL-PvdA deletes article 296 in the code, making abortion not a criminal offense but a right. 

Given developments in the Netherlands and abroad, it is more important than ever to legally anchor abortion and self-determination as much as possible, Ellemeet stressed. “In many countries – Poland, Hungary, Italy, the United States – the right to abortion is under pressure or even completely banned. The developments in our country are worrying, with established and new parties that do not take women’s rights very seriously.” 

Ellemeet, together with other parties, previously submitted bills to amend abortion legislation. The mandatory reflection period has been abolished, and it is now possible for general practitioners to prescribe the abortion pill. 

The bill will be handled by the new Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament. Ellemeet won’t defend it herself as she will not return to parliament after the elections next week. 

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