Family doctors closer to being able to prescribe abortion pill
A sizable majority of MPs in the Tweede Kamer voted in favor of allowing general practitioners to prescribe a pill to women who wish to terminate a pregnancy. The proposal was submitted by D66, GroenLinks, Labor (PvdA) and the VVD. A total of 106 members voiced their support for the bill during a roll-call vote.
Out of 150 members, 24 voted against including members from FvD, ChristenUnie, SGP and PVV, except for Fleur Agema who voted with the majority. The bill, which modifies the existing law allowing abortions, still needs to pass the Eerste Kamer, the upper house of Dutch parliament.
If it passes, it would not obligate the doctors to prescribe the pill, but would give them the ability to do so. That would be the only alternative women in the Netherlands have to visiting one of 16 abortion clinics. A survey published in March showed that 58 percent of general practitioners would be willing to prescribe the pill, though most said they would require more training to properly handle the medication. Mandatory training is a requirement written into the bill.
It became clear in January that the proposal would win majority support in the Tweede Kamer. The health minister from 2010-2017, Edith Schippers, also wrote a letter in 2016 in support of giving family doctors the ability to prescribe pills to terminate a pregnancy after 44 days of gestation. The bill in its current form was submitted in 2018.
Should the change to the abortion law pass, it will be subject to review every seven years, according to an amendment from the CDA which also passed. Another amendment that passed was offered by SP, which proposed that the effect on abortion clinics should be monitored to ensure they can continue to remain open and provide care to women in the future.