Terminating an unwanted pregnancy is a major decision for any expecting parent. To abort a life growing in her womb is one of the most challenging situations for a woman. In such a sensitive moment, it is important to know everything about abortion in the Netherlands and the process and procedure involved.
In several countries, abortion is still considered taboo. Many women are ostracized for wanting to abort their child. In some nations, including parts of the United States, abortion is illegal unless there are life-threatening circumstances. Women are forced to continue with their pregnancies against their will and often suffer from depression. In some cases, it can lead to lifelong complications or death. Hence, many women choose to travel to the Netherlands for an abortion with no legal troubles.
Plenty of hospitals and clinics terminate pregnancies with appropriate care and support. With hundreds of medical professionals and specialists, women can undergo hassle-free treatment without judgment. For Dutch citizens and expats, abortion is free of charge. If you are a visitor traveling to the Netherlands for an abortion, you have to bear the cost yourself. Until 2022, the pregnant woman was given a five-day waiting period after her first consultation to ensure her decision. It was mandatory to receive a confirmation letter from the doctor stating that she had completed her waiting period. Since January 2023, a woman no longer has to wait for five days to terminate her pregnancy.
Moreover, a lot of help and advice is available on sexuality, family planning, and feelings, where people can educate themselves.
History of Abortion in the Netherlands
Abortion in the Netherlands was considered illegal under the Penal Code of 1886. For many years, several laws regarding abortion rights were passed. In 1911, the government introduced a section banning all abortions except when the mother’s life was in danger. In the 1960s, discussions again started taking place, but no firm decision was made. Birth control pills were made available in 1964, and the first abortion clinics were opened in 1971. After a lot of discussions and alterations, abortion in the Netherlands was fully legalized in 1984.
Time Limit for an Abortion
The time limit for carrying out an abortion in the Netherlands is up to the 24th week of pregnancy. The doctors practice a two-week margin of error, due to which abortions are ideally carried out till the 22nd week.
A late abortion is often considered a criminal act. However, under certain conditions, a pregnancy can be terminated after the 24th week if the doctor abides by the regulations of the Pregnancy Termination Act. Late abortions can be carried out if there are unforeseen situations, such as:
- an unborn child suffering from a condition that has no treatment.
- the doctor and the parents mutually agree that the abortion is necessary.
- the mother wants to terminate the pregnancy due to physical and psychological conditions.
- the doctor has discussed the issue with at least one other medical expert.
Different Methods of Abortion
There are different ways of terminating a pregnancy. It is recommended to always consult your general practitioner or gynecologist before making a decision. Depending on your medical condition, they will advise the best method for you.
Abortion Pill: An abortion pill can be taken up to the first nine weeks of pregnancy. The procedure is followed in two steps – one at the abortion clinic and one at home. Some women can experience heavy bleeding and pain after the pill is taken. The symptoms slowly diminish with time. During this time, having someone take care of you is advised. Medications should only be purchased at a registered abortion clinic.
Vacuum Aspiration: Vacuum aspiration or suction curettage is carried out up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. This procedure takes place using anesthesia and terminates the pregnancy using suction. After the procedure, the patient has to stay at the clinic for an hour. Patients can feel cramping and bleeding after the treatment, but the symptoms go away in a few weeks.
Abortion Clinic or Hospital: Between 13-22 weeks, an abortion can only be done at an abortion clinic or a hospital. This procedure requires the use of surgical instruments. Patients are given light anesthesia and are told to come for the treatment with an empty stomach.
Post Abortion Care
After the procedure, the patient is kept under observation to check for infections or unusual reactions. During this time, women experience severe cramping and bleeding, or sometimes nausea. Regular checkups and follow-ups should occur for a few weeks after the procedure.
In some cases, complications can arise after the abortion, such as damage to the womb, abnormal bleeding or fever, infections, and allergic reactions. It is necessary to consult with your doctor as soon as possible in these situations.
Some women get a feeling of guilt or anxiety during this time. It is advised not to stay alone at such times and always have a family member or friend for emotional support.
Abortion Clinics in the Netherlands
There are plenty of reputed abortion clinics in the country with reliable medical professionals to rely on.
With 50 years in service, Abortuskliniek Amsterdam has a team of experienced female doctors and nurses who promise you receive the utmost care during this sensitive time. They also help women in choosing the right contraception.
Abortuskliniek Amsterdam: Sarphatistraat 620, 1018 AV Amsterdam
Bloemenhove Clinic Haarlem: Herenweg 211, 2106 MJ Heemstede
The Abortuskliniek at the Hague specializes in performing abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. They practice strict privacy regulations with their patients’ personal and sensitive information. They are affiliated with the General Care Disputes Committee, making it easy for patients to file a complaint in case of dissatisfaction.
Van Beverningkstraat 134, 2582 VL, The Hague
The Gynaikon clinics offer professional advice not only on abortions but also on birth control, menstruation, and menopause. They have a team of medical experts providing a range of services to women, from their first period to their last.
Strevelsweg 700, 3083 AS Rotterdam
Providing abortion care since 1972, Vrelinghuis offers pregnancy termination up to 22 weeks. They provide detailed advice on steps to follow before and after the abortion procedure.
Biltstraat 423, 3572 AV Utrecht
Women on Waves offers abortion pills for pregnancy termination up to nine weeks. They do not perform surgical abortions. With over 10 years in service, their mission is to educate women against illegal and unsafe abortions.
Domselaerstraat 14,1093 MA Amsterdam
During such a difficult and emotional phase, it’s never wrong to seek the help of a therapist or psychologist. Here are some of the best therapists in the Netherlands who you can consult.
Abortion can indeed take a toll on your physical and mental health. Hence, it is always good to know all about it before deciding. We hope we have made it easier for you to reach out to the right people if such a situation arises.