Minister Schippers focuses on prevention

Minister Schippers of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) sent a letter to the Dutch Parliament (Tweede Kamer) on the progress of the implementation of abortion laws on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. This law took effect on the islands on October 10th 2011. 

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Focus on prevention

The abortion law which came into force since October 10, 2011 hardly changes the current situation. Abortion is still prohibited. Only when a medical institution has been given an authorization (WAZ-vergunning), abortions are allowed to be performed there. In Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius permits are not yet applied for and no clinics are established. The minister sees no role for the government in the creation of an abortion facility on the islands. The focus of the minister is on preventing unwanted pregnancies and providing sex education.

The Tweede Kamer stipulated in March 2010, that within one year after being granted the status of public body from the Netherlands, the Dutch abortion laws on the islands had to take effect. Late 2010 a survey commissioned by the Ministry of VWS was carried out to analyze the consequences of the introduction of the abortion law (0-meting). In addition, a focus group research was held among the population of all three islands, to find out what the general opinion on the introduction of the abortion legislation is.

Focus on preventing pregnancies
Both surveys indicated that dealing with sexual health in the Dutch Caribbean is alarming and not easy. The breaking of pregnancies is relatively common. The use of contraceptive is low. Therefore, the attention of the Ministry of VWS is focused on preventing unwanted pregnancies. This can be done by investing in proper sex education and removing barriers that impede the use of contraceptives. The contraceptive pill will soon be included in the basic health insurance and will thus be compensated.