As Belgium is considering fully legalising abortion, experts are being heard in parliament. Their input has raised questions: several of them are proud to perform illegal abortions, while others seem to know little about the conditions of legality. Belgian law partially decriminalised abortion in 1990 under certain clearly defined conditions (waiting period, state of distress, foetal age, etc.).
- At the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc in Brussels, doctors have specialised in abortion, which they recommend “when the child risks being born with a particularly serious infection”, whereas under Belgian law the risk must be 100%. Between “risk” and “100% certainty”, there is a large margin.
- One doctor interviewed expressed “pride in sometimes illegally providing abortion for women who wish to have one”.
- The Groupe d’Action des Centres Extrahospitaliers Pratiquant l’Avortement (action group of out-patient clinics practising abortion, or GACEHPA) has deliberately overlooked one of the points required by law: “On our own initiative, we never address the obligation to inform patients, including about adoption, for women who do not ask for it”.
- OB/GYN Yannick Manigart, clinic manager at CHU Saint-Pierre in Brussels, said he recently performed an abortion on an undocumented girl who was 16 weeks pregnant, even though the law bans abortion after 12 weeks.
All of these “experts” are in favour of fully removing abortion from the Belgian penal code.
Institut Européen de Bioéthique (20/06/2018)