Abortion in the Netherlands: on the increase and for older women

Publié le 7 Mar, 2019

The report on abortion in the Netherlands in 2017 by the Dutch Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (Inspectie Gezondheidszorg en Jeugd, IGJ) has just been published. Significant developments include:


  • An increase in the number of abortions in 2017 to reach 30,523, i.e. 379 more than in 2016. This increase is first and foremost among women living in the Netherlands (+546).
  • Abortions are performed earlier: 47% after the seventh week of pregnancy. Most abortions are performed in the sixth week of pregnancy. Some 18% of abortions were performed in the second trimester, i.e. from the thirteenth to the twenty-third week inclusive.
  • Women are having abortions later: most abortions are among women aged 25–30, a trend that has been confirmed since 2015. Previously, most abortions were performed among women aged 20–25. Conversely, the number of abortions among adolescent girls has been decreasing steadily since 2002 (2,941 in 2017, i.e. 283 fewer than the previous year).
  • The number of medical abortions is increasing significantly: up from 16% in 2011 to 27% in 2017. The ‘abortion pill’, prescribed up to the ninth week of pregnancy, is also “increasingly used to supplement instrumental abortion“.
  • Finally, as regards abortions performed on the basis of prenatal genetic testing: 1,152 women in 2017 said that the results of this test “were a reason to choose voluntary interruption of pregnancy “.


After making this assessment, however, the Dutch Inspectorate did not produce any recommendations to prevent abortion in the Netherlands.


For further reading:

Changes in recourse to abortion in the Netherlands

Increasingly late abortions in the United Kingdom: trivialisation of abortion

Abortion in the United Kingdom: alarming figures

IEB (15/02/19) – L’avortement aux Pays-Bas : rapport 2017 du gouvernement


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