Elections 2024: Who should I vote for if I want to see greater access to abortion?

In the run-up to the June elections, Belgium's political parties are staking out their positions on key issues. Today we look at where they stand on abortion.

Abortion has been possible in Belgium up to 12 weeks after conception since 1990. As with the question of euthanasia, it has been the subject of disagreement within the federal parliament for years. There is a majority in favour of extending the time limit among the current coalition parties, but Flemish Christian democrats CD&V disagree.

Liberals Open VLD and MR, green parties Groen and Ecolo, and socialists Vooruit and PS all agree the term should be extended to 18 weeks. They also believe the mandatory six-day reflection period between a woman consulting a GP and an abortion being carried out should be abolished. 

CD&V are not prepared to extend the limit beyond 14 weeks, but accept the waiting period being reduced to 48 hours.

Sex education

In their 2024 election manifestos, Vooruit, PS, Ecolo, PVDA, Les Engagés and DéFi call for the complete decriminalisation of abortion. Groen would make abortion possible for minors without the permission of a parent or guardian.

Ecolo, the francophone green party, plans to strengthen the provision of sex and relationship education in schools and extend free contraception. Under its proposals, abortion would be allowed up to 22 weeks, as is the case in the Netherlands and the UK.

Socialists PS want to make abortion easier to access geographically and financially, by increasing the number of practitioners performing abortion. Centrist party Les Engagés wants to improve psychological and medical support.

Accessible contraception

The far-left PVDA wants to increase the number of abortion centres and oblige doctors who do not want to perform abortions to refer women to appropriate care. It would make the contraceptive pill free and make long-term contraception such as the IUD more accessible. 

According to a report by the abortion support centres Luna and VUB Dilemma, clinics in Flanders and Brussels performed almost 8,300 abortions in 2023, a significant increase from previous years.

Right-wing Flemish parties Vlaams Belang and N-VA do not make explicit mention of abortion in their programmes.


Members of the women's council (Vrouwenraad/Conseil des femmes) outside the federal parliamant in Brussels, 20 February 2024 © BELGA PHOTO MAARTEN WEYNANTS

In the run-up to the elections for the federal, regional and European parliaments on 9 June, Belga English explains how the parties in Belgium want to address today’s challenges. Each day we put the spotlight on one issue.

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