Following a petition signed by 82,000 Dutch people, a law now allows parents who so wish to do so to apply for their stillborn child to be registered as a legal person in the government’s official databases. A woman asked for Yara, the child she had carried for fourteen weeks before having an abortion in an Amsterdam clinic, to be registered. Since the legislation does not specify the cause of death or the duration of the pregnancy as criteria for registration, officials at Amsterdam City Council accepted this request and sent their condolences to Yara’s mother.
“For all the mothers who will make use of this new law, it is obviously more than a mere formality,” said Don Ceder, a young Dutch lawyer. “It is obvious to any rational observer that these children cannot be both valuable persons and killable clumps of cells at the same time”. Kees van Helden, of the Dutch pro-life organization Cry for Life, confirmed that “for a lot of women, this addition to the law is a step forward in the process of dealing with post-abortion grief. We hope it will accelerate into a much broader public debate so that more people can become aware of what happens during an abortion,” he added.