In Belgium, following months of debate both in Parliament and civil society, a decision was taken yesterday to revise the 1990 Lallemand-Michielsens abortion law by 84 votes to 39 with five abstentions.
The bill removes abortion from the penal code but penal sanctions still apply to women and doctors if abortion is performed outside the conditions provided for by the said law. “Currently, the legal limit for an abortion is still the twelfth week of pregnancy” and “there are plans to reconsider the six-day reflection period”.
The notion of distress has, however, been abandoned, it is now considered an offence of obstruction to prevent women from entering an abortion facility, and any doctor who is opposed to abortion will be obliged “to recommend a willing colleague to any woman wishing to have an abortion”.
For Sylvie Lausberg, President of the Belgian Women’s Council, “they have done more harm than good”. She believes that, “by keeping penal sanctions and the current time limit, the majority of MPs opt to reproduce the conditions of the 1990 law, almost thirty years after its adoption”.
In Belgium, 20,000 abortions are carried out each year.
Afp (04/10/2018) – La Libre (04/10/2014) – RTL (05/10/2018)