Schippers: abortion still prohibited in BES-islands

POSTED: 10/14/11 11:30 AM

THE HAGUE – Public Health Minister Edith Schippers stated in a press release issued yesterday that abortion is still prohibited in Bonaire, Saba and Statia, and that the abortion legislation that went into effect on October 10 of last year hardly changes anything.
“Only when a medical institution has obtained a permit it is allowed to perform abortions. In Bonaire, Saba and Statia no permits have been requested and no clinics have been established,” Schippers wrote in a letter to the Second Chamber.
The Minister wrote that she does not consider it a task for the government to establish abortion clinics on the islands. “The minister‘s focus is on prevention of undesired pregnancies and on providing sexual education.
The Parliament in The Hague decided in March of last year that the Dutch abortion legislation had to go into effect in the BES-islands within a year after the status change. The ministry did a survey among the island-population to measure the general opinion about the introduction of legalized abortion. Another survey examined the consequences of the implementation of abortion legislation.
Both surveys show, the minister states in a press release, that the way the Caribbean Netherlands deal with sexual health is a source for concern and far from simple. “Terminating pregnancies occurs relatively frequently. The use of birth control is low. This is why Schippers wants to focus on preventing unwanted pregnancies by investing in good sexual education and removing thresholds that hamper the use of contraceptives. The pill will soon be in the basic package for healthcare insurance and the costs will therefore be compensated.

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