Professor Gevers continues: “As to the question how the concept of ‘emergency’ is applied, according to the women who answered the questionnaire, usually the reasons to request abortion are discussed with the physician. Those reasons are quite diverse (ranging from financial and housing constraints, to age, the fact that the family is already ‘complete’, a broken or fragile relationship, lack of possibilities to raise a child, etc).
Most often, there is more than one reason to request abortion. This picture is confirmed by a later study commissioned by the Ministry of Health and conducted in 2012: most women that were interviewed said that their final decision was the result of a number of reasons/factors and should be seen against the background of their present situation in life. All of them experienced the decision to terminate their pregnancy as a hard one, however, and some of them as the most difficult decision they had to make in their life.
He later states: “During the last few years, a new evaluation of the Abortion Act has been planned. It should have been carried out in 2017, but has been postponed in order to allow the new government (in office since end October this year) to give the ‘green light’ for it…
“Terminating a pregnancy after 24 weeks of gestation is prohibited (and a crime against life under Article 82a Penal Code). Nevertheless, in medical practice the need for third trimester abortion has made itself felt, at least in exceptional circumstances.
“In order to provide guidance with regard to good medical practice, in 1994 the Netherlands Association for Obstetrics and Gynaecology published a report which lays down certain criteria. According to that report, such a late term abortion may only be considered if a foetal abnormality is diagnosed which either excludes the possibility of survival after birth, or is so serious that postnatal life prolonging procedures will be considered futile.
“After setting up a multidisciplinary committee to advise them on how the criminal law system should deal with these cases, in 2007 the Ministers of Health and Justice established a Central Expert Committee. Cases of late abortion for very severe foetal abnormalities have to be notified to it so that – after reviewing them along the lines already set out in the 1994 report – it can offer its advice to the public attorney as to whether or not prosecution should take place. After an evaluation in 2013, this arrangement was slightly modified in the beginning of 2016, but the basic rules have remained the same.
In 2015, the Minister of Health announced that she would like to make it possible that also general practitioners could induce abortion, at least in the very first period of pregnancy (within 16 days overdue). The method of medical abortion had developed sufficiently to perform such an abortion safely outside hospitals and clinics, and – according to the Minister – it would be important to involve general practitioners since they knew their patients well and would be in the best position to talk with them and advise them in case a termination of a pregnancy was considered.
“This idea met with resistance from several sides (not only from the anti-abortion side, but also from others who felt that the delicate balance in the Abortion Act should not be disturbed), but nevertheless (in the beginning of 2017) the government (then a coalition of liberals and social democrats) submitted a bill to Parliament that was to enable general practitioners to induce medical abortion (by means of the ‘abortion pill’) within that very first period of gestation. General practitioners who wanted to do so, would need a license and basically, they would have to comply also with the other rules laid down in the Abortion Act.”
Source : http://www.thejournal.ie/eighth-amendment-committee-the-netherlands-3712987-Nov2017/634