Time frame for abortion likely to extend from 12 to 18 weeks in Belgium
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
The current statutory period for abortion in Belgium is 12 weeks. Credit: Pexels
A majority in the Federal parliament to extend the time frame to have an abortion from 12 to 18 weeks is forming, as several parties already submitted proposals on the subject.
The current statutory period for abortion in Belgium is 12 weeks, which is relatively short compared to other European countries. In the Netherlands, women can have an abortion up to 24 weeks after conception, leading to several thousand Belgian women going there to have the surgery done, according to Egbert Lachaert, a member of the Chamber of Representatives for Open Vld, the liberal party, in the Radio 1 programme ‘De ochtend‘.
Together with Open Vld party members Katja Gabriëls and Goedele Liekens, Lachaert proposed a bill to extend the term to 18 weeks. Currently, having an abortion after 18 weeks is only allowed for urgent medical reasons.
The Walloon socialist party PS, the greens (both Groen and Ecolo) and the social-liberal Brussels party DéFi all want an extension to 18 weeks, and the extreme-left party PVDA even proposed 20 weeks.
“Even if we only take into account the parties that submitted a proposal, we have 67 seats out of 150, which means that if the Flemish socialist party sp.a or the Walloon liberal party MR agrees, we have a majority,” said Lachaert.
MR previously communicated that they would be “open to the debate,” reports VRT NWS. The Flemish rightwing N-VA and centrist CD&V parties are both opposing the extension.
During the previous legislature, N-VA, MR, CD&V and Open Vld reached an agreement to remove abortion from criminal law.