May 22, 2022

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The mandatory abortion cool-down period is unnecessary and can be harmful |  comment

The mandatory abortion cool-down period is unnecessary and can be harmful | comment

More than 30,000 abortions are performed in our country every year. Approximately two thirds are in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. Three-quarters of women also have a partner. Currently, a woman who visits a therapist should consider at home for five days whether she really wants to have an abortion. This is an anachronism in 2021, as if women didn’t think twice before going to the doctor. Figures from the Fiom Knowledge Institute show that most abortions occur among women in the 25-30 year age group, followed by the 30-35 age group. They do not take this decision lightly. But when Parliament passed the abortion law by a narrow majority in the early 1980s, people thought differently. The five-day thinking period has become mandatory so that women do not make hasty decisions. Something that is rare in practice. Research by the Health and Youth Welfare Inspectorate shows that many women have already thought long before going to the doctor, in more than half of cases for longer than five days.

The law continues to state that the doctor must ensure that the woman is not forced into it and that she has a good understanding of the consequences of the procedure. That’s right, because abortion has a huge impact. But assuming in advance that a woman will need an additional five days for this is not necessary. According to women’s organizations, this even carries risks. For example, due to the legal cooling-off period, some women have to undergo a more serious procedure because they have just passed a certain limit of the week. In their view, strict legislation could even lead to women resorting to the alternative circuit, with all the associated medical risks. So there is every reason to do something about this.

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