'Drop 24 Week Limit for Abortion’
THE HAGUE, 01/10/13 - Researchers at the Erasmus Medical Centre academic hospital in Rotterdam and AMC in Amsterdam have urged Health Minister Edith Schippers to drop the 24 week limit for abortion.
Currently, a pregnancy may be terminated until it has reached 24 weeks. But if there is a clear medical indication for this, it should also be allowed later, in the researchers’ view. To achieve this, a legislative amendment is necessary.
The hospitals carried out research into a regulation dating from 2007, under which it was determined that doctors must report a late pregnancy termination (after 24 weeks of pregnancy) and the ending of the life of newborn babies.
Since 2007, six cases of late pregnancy termination (after 24 weeks) have been reported. But from a roundup by the researchers, it emerges that the real number is likely around 30 cases a year. “We think that many doctors do not report it because the scheme was set up very strictly,’ says Agnes van der Heide, professor of medical healthcare.
There are also sticking points regarding the ending of lives of the newborn. “One of the requirements in the regulation is that there is unbearable suffering at the time, which is difficult to determine. It is often the case that the infant will in any case die, but that the process can be speeded up with the aid of drugs.”