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Dutch parliament votes to keep abortion criminal

A majority in the lower house of the Dutch parliament, Tweede Kamel, oppose removing abortion from the criminal code. Coalition parties VVD, CDA and ChristenUnie and opposition parties SGP, PVV and FvD. Proponents of removing abortion from the criminal code argue that abortion is a form of medicine that belongs in the basic health insurance package, not in the book of criminal activity.

Together with opposition parties GroenLinks, PvdA, SP and Lijst Gundogan, the coalition D66 also wanted to heed the call of the citizen-led BNNVARA and Humanistisch Verbond. They specifically urged Tweed Comer to remove Section 296 of the Penal Code because abortion is not a crime.

Opponents of removing that provision believe the current legal balance is good and worthwhile. CDA lawmaker Hilde Parand and others said women who become pregnant unintentionally can get help and the life of their unborn baby is saved. “Without this provision, we argue that non-viable fetuses do not deserve protection,” said ChristenUnie leader Mirjam Bicker.

That was also the argument of the opponent who did not want to change the criminal law.

Groenlinks MP Corinne Hermite argued that abortion was a medical intervention. Physicians who do not perform abortions according to regulations could also be prosecuted without the “infamous Section 296,” she said. “We don’t need a separate legal framework,” other supporters of the article deletion agreed.

Hermite has been working for some time on initiative legislation to remove abortion from criminal law. She plans to continue with it and submit it to Congress later this year. Citizens’ efforts show their support for her.

D66 MP Wieke Paulusma added that the current law maintains the stigma against abortion. Deleting the article also breaks the stigma, she said.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/05/25/dutch-parliament-votes-keep-abortion-penal-code Dutch parliament votes to keep abortion criminal

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