Early ultrasound, less late-term abortion
The introduction of the 20-week ultrasound resulted in a significant decrease of abortions in a later phase. Since 2007 the 20-week ultrasound is standard procedure, making it possible to decide a course of action in case the child has a severe birth defect.Also, the life of newborns is less often terminated. The committee that assesses whether a decision for a late abortion or euthanasia is taken carefully had expected more reports.
A pregnancy may be terminated up to 24 weeks. After that, it's considered a so-called late-term pregnancy termination or, if the child is already born, neonatal life termination. That is only allowed if the child is suffering unbearably at that time.
The committee assesses whether it actually is a case of unbearable suffering. The committee has had seven reports between 2007 and 2012. In the years before 2007 there were ten times more for late-term pregnancy terminations.
However, the researchers would like the ban on abortions after 24 weeks on medical grounds lifted.
Now they are only allowed under very strict conditions and the commission retrospectively assesses whether the decision was correct. If the ban is removed the doctor can make the decision himself.
A child may not suffer unbearably at the moment the decision needs to be made to end a pregnancy or the life of a newborn, even though the expectation is that unbearable suffering will surely follow.
In such a case, under the current rules, a pregnancy may not be terminated. It concerns for example, fetuses with a chromosomal abnormality, causing vital organs not to develop normally. Other conditions, such as spina bifida, are not considered unbearable suffering.