Aggressive protesters harassing women at Rotterdam abortion clinic

Women who go to the abortion clinic in Rotterdam are increasingly being harassed by anti-abortion protesters, according to clinic director Gerrit Zomerdijk. The clinic is therefore asking the municipality of Rotterdam for help, RTV Rijnmond reports.

"They speak to women, stand there with small dolls depicting a fetus, with a poster of an unborn child on their stomach or with a mouth taped shut", Zomerdijk said to the local broadcaster. "Officially, they can only stand on the other side of the street, but they don't stick to that."

According to Zomerdijk, the intensity and brutality of the protests are increasing. The protesters covered lampposts and the elevator the women have to use to get into the clinic with stickers with texts like 'abortion is murder'. According to the director, its groups of four to eight people who act like this.

The protesters say they're standing up for "the thousands of children who are deliberately killed", according to RTV Rijnmond. 

Almost all 14 abortion clinics in the Netherlands face such protests to a greater or lesser extent, spokesperson Fiona Fortuin of the Humanistisch Verbond said, according to NOS. The association therefore started a support action in September. "When we set up a support club with gynecologists and abortion doctors, we heard about the women being harassed at clinics", she said. The Vrelinghuis in Utrecht even put up a sign warning women about aggressive demonstrators.

The association is lobbying with municipalities to create buffer zones around clinics to protect women in vulnerable situations. Humanistisch Verbond also alerted politicians about unilateral information about abortions from foundations like Siriz. 

In 2017 a total of 30,523 women underwent an abortion in the Netherlands, according to NOS. 11 percent of the procedures were performed on women who traveled to the Netherlands specifically for this.