In The Netherlands, abortion is only allowed subject to the provisions of the Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1984. The aim of this Act is to balance two potentially conflicting interests: On the one hand protecting the life of the unborn child, and on the other helping women who are in a difficult position as a result of an unwanted pregnancy.
Under the act, termination of a pregnancy must be given careful consideration: a woman and her physician must agree that her circumstances are compelling. The doctor must inform her of other possible solutions. To give the woman time for reflection, there must be a lapse of at least five days between the woman's first consultation with her doctor and the actual termination of the pregnancy.
In The Netherlands, abortions are performed until approximately 24 weeks into pregnancy. However, as a result of the ongoing debate among physicians about the viability of the fetus, abortions are rarely performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions after the first trimester must be performed in a hospital.
Low, but increasing rate
Compared to other countries, The Netherlands has a low abortion rate. This rate is increasing though, due to the growing demand from women from ethnic minorities: Within this group, the abortion rate is between 2.5 and 9 times higher than that of the rest of the population. Campaigns to prevent unwanted pregnancies target specifically the Surinamese, Antillean, Turkish and Moroccan communities and teenage girls.
There are 18 specialised clinics in The Netherlands. The Termination of Pregnancy Act specifies the requirements to be met by hospitals and clinics licensed to carry out abortions. The Health Inspectorate is responsible for monitoring compliance. Abortion in hospitals and clinics is covered by health insurance.
For an abortion in Maastricht:
6221 BD Maastricht
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