Belgium: heading towards legal status for embryo and foetus?

Publié le 24 Feb, 2017

On 9 February, the Belgian Federal Parliament voted on a draft bill  aimed at “allowing recognition of paternal parentage outside marriage from the start of pregnancy”. Thus, “a conceived child can be recognised at any point during pregnancy based on a certificate of pregnancy provided by a doctor or midwife”.


The term, “child” used by the author of the draft bill, Stéphanie Thoron, is not insignificant. With this law, it is possible to establish a link between parentage and a registered document, “two of the four attributes required in order to assign a legal identity”.

In the same vein, the Justice Minister is seeking to remove the legal time limit for recognising a stillborn child, which is currently set at six months into the pregnancy.  


These measures have triggered reactions from the Conseil des Femmes Francophones de Belgique (CCFB) (Council of French-speaking Women in Belgium). The council believes that these “attempts to give a status to the embryo and foetus” are “increasingly direct attacks” on abortion. 

Belga (13/02/2017); CCFB (10/02/2017)

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