Abortion centres ask government to modernise abortion law
Abortion support centres Luna and VUB Dilemma have launched a campaign calling for a modernised abortion law. Belgium's current law is outdated, they said on Wednesday, and with more than 10,000 consultations and nearly 8,300 treatments last year, the need for quality abortion care is greater than ever.
"More than ever, we are confronted with the limitations of the current abortion law," said Carine Vrancken, director of the non-profit organisation Luna, the umbrella organisation of Dutch-speaking abortion centres in Belgium.
Fellow director Françoise Dedrie insists that a change in the law will not lead to more abortions, but will help more women at home. "When it comes to abortion, our principle is 'as little as possible, but as much as necessary'," she said.
Specifically, the campaign advocates accessible and affordable contraception for both women and men. The centres also criticise the "patronising waiting period" of six days between an initial consultation and treatment.
"What are we trying to achieve by forcing vulnerable women to stay pregnant?"
The fact that a pregnancy can only be terminated in the first 12 weeks after conception is also a problem. As a result, many women are forced to go to the Netherlands, for example, where the rules are less strict. "What are we trying to achieve by forcing vulnerable women to stay pregnant?" the centres ask.
The campaign includes the publication of a booklet that explains and visualises abortion in an accessible and approachable way. Postcards will be distributed through abortion centres and partners. The organisations plan to take a postbag full of postcards to Brussels to raise awareness of the issue and lobby for a new abortion law.
© BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS