BELGIUM – Decriminalisation of abortion: the debate is re-opened in the parliament

BELGIUM – Decriminalisation of abortion: the debate is re-opened in the parliament

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Nov 1, 2019

Members of the Justice Committee in the Belgian parliament have re-opened the debate on the decriminalisation of abortion. Five bills have been tabled, all of which go further than the current law, as amended in October 2018. But there are differences between the bills and the parties supporting them. Hence, there may not be a sufficient majority for decriminalisation of abortion.

The law reform of October 2018 legalised abortion under in certain conditions, but did not achieve true decriminalisation because penal sanctions were retained for abortions outside the legal grounds. For example, the upper time limit of 12 weeks remains in place. A reflection period of six days was also kept. Only in cases of medical emergencies was the time limit increased. This was a compromise between the parties, but it was rejected by many as “false decriminalisation”.

Continued: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/belgium-decriminalisation-of-abortion-debate-re-opened-in-parliament/


Right to abortion: Minister to take Brussels Declaration to UN

Right to abortion: Minister to take Brussels Declaration to UN

Friday, 15 February 2019

The Minister-President of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Rudy Demotte, is due from 10 to 14 March to go to New York.

The trip is with a view to taking the Brussels Declaration, which in particular is calling for legalizing abortion (in French-speaking Belgium called IVG), at the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women, said his department on Thursday.

Continued: http://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/14096/right-to-abortion-demotte-will-take-brussels-declaration-to-un-at-beginning-of-march


BELGIUM – Hi-jacked: the minimal changes to the Belgian abortion law due to ‘political compromise’

Hi-jacked: the minimal changes to the Belgian abortion law due to ‘political compromise’

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
July 24, 2018
Commentary by Carine Vrancken, LUNA Abortion Centre, Hasselt, Belgium

Since mid-2016, several Belgian opposition political parties have submitted bills to change the abortion law. Some of them have been uncomplicated (take the existing text out of the penal code and put it in a civil law, without changing the content) while others have proposed a substantial change (take abortion out of the penal code, allow abortion on request up to the 20th week of pregnancy and get rid of the required 6-day waiting period between the request for abortion and the procedure). In the spring of 2017 the Flemish liberal party (Open VLD), a member of the majority coalition in the parliament, also submitted a bill (take abortion out of the penal code, reduce the waiting period to 48 hours, and allow abortion on request up to the 18th week of pregnancy). There were three other bills as well, in total six different bills.

Continued: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/belgium-hi-jacked-the-minimal-changes-to-the-belgian-abortion-law-due-to-political-compromise/


BELGIUM – Bishops criticise decision to scrap abortion from penal code

Bishops criticise decision to scrap abortion from penal code

Wednesday, 04 July 2018

The Belgian bishops’ conference has criticised a decision by the federal government parties to produce a bill to remove abortion from the statute books.

The bill will be presented to parliament on Thursday, after an agreement reached on Tuesday by the four majority parties: N-VA, CD&V, Open VLD and MR.

Abortion is still technically illegal in Belgium, save for certain circumstances laid out in a 1990 law, which famously led to the abdication for one day of then-king Baudouin, whose Catholic faith could not allow him to give the law Royal approval. Instead, he stepped down while the law was passed, in an inventive and unprecedented solution engineered by prime minister Wilfried Martens, resuming the throne the following day (photo).

Continued: http://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/politics/11833/bishops-criticise-decision-to-scrap-abortion-from-penal-code


Poland – ‘We feel like second category citizens,’ say abortion campaigners

'We feel like second category citizens,' say abortion campaigners

By Damon Embling
02/07/2018

Protesters have been venting their opposition against planned changes to Poland's abortion laws, in Brussels.

They think moves to ban terminations in cases involving irreparably damaged fetuses is wrong. This, as a special Polish commission of legislators examined the proposal.

Continued: http://www.euronews.com/2018/07/02/-we-feel-like-second-category-citizens-say-abortion-campaigners


BELGIUM – Decriminalisation bill debate concludes in the Justice Commission

BELGIUM – Decriminalisation bill debate concludes in the Justice Commission

June 22, 2018
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

The debates on taking abortion out of the Penal Code in Belgium are over, at least in the Justice Commission of the Chamber of Representatives. The hearings almost all went in the same direction: that abortion must be removed from the Penal Code. In early July, the Justice Commission will look at the issue once more and then a vote should be taken.

For Karine Lalieux, the Socialist MP behind the decriminalisation bill, it would be a simple but historic step forward: “This would be a necessary, indispensable and natural historical advance, given that today abortion in our country is still considered an offense against morality and the family. It is totally anachronistic and at the same time there is always a risk, for the doctors as well as for the women, of being prosecuted for abortion.”

Continued: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/belgium-decriminalisation-bill-debate-concludes-in-the-justice-commission/


Belgium again debates removal of abortion from the Penal Code

Belgium again debates removal of abortion from the Penal Code

by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
May 11, 2018

On 20 July 2016 we reported that a member of the Ecolo (Green) Party in Belgium had tabled a bill to remove abortion from the Penal Code so that it was no longer regarded as a criminal offence, and that this was not the first attempt to do so.

On 21 March 2017, we reported that there had been a rush of media stories announcing a campaign in Belgium that was variously calling for modernisation of the abortion law, decriminalisation of abortion, and complete removal of abortion from the Penal Code. And that there was a strong majority in support in the country. The necessity for some Belgian women to travel to other countries in Europe for second trimester abortion was especially condemned. Unfortunately, nothing happened.

Continued: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/belgium-belgium-again-debates-removal-of-abortion-from-the-penal-code/


Belgium to debate removal of abortion from penal code

Belgium to debate removal of abortion from penal code
Opposition parties believed to be broadly in favour of decriminalisation

Daniel Boffey in Brussels
Wed 2 May 2018

Belgian MPs are taking a major step towards the decriminalisation of abortion after a parliamentary majority emerged in favour of following France and Luxembourg in treating the procedure as a woman’s right.

The federal parliament decided on Wednesday to start debating the removal of abortion from the penal code after a large survey of the public indicated its approval, and the minister of public health for the francophone Walloon region of Belgium offered her support.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/02/belgium-to-debate-removal-of-abortion-from-penal-code


Malaysai – Yes! SheDecides: Affirming women’s rights to their own body

Yes! SheDecides: Affirming women’s rights to their own body

Friday March 2, 2018

March 2 — A group of stakeholders and global representatives came together today to express their support for SheDecides — a movement that promotes, provides, protects and enhances the fundamental rights of every girl and woman to freely decide about their sexual lives.

The discussion, organised in conjunction with SheDecides’ first anniversary, saw participations of regional non-profit group Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (Arrow) and representatives from Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland, among others.

Continued: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/yes-shedecides-affirming-womens-rights-to-their-own-body


Europe: Why we’re marching for reproductive rights

Why we’re marching for reproductive rights
28 September 2017

Today, on the International Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, Friends of the Earth activists are taking to the streets in Brussels to demand women’s rights and bodily autonomy and the right to abortion for women across all European countries and around the world.

Sign the petition for reproductive rights in Europe

Abortion is still banned in Ireland and Malta, and highly restricted in Hungary and Poland. Elsewhere, even where access to abortion is legally guaranteed, it can still be denied in practice through the closure of abortion providers and funding cuts for expert staff. And in all countries the right to abortion is regularly threatened as right-wing reactionary politicians gain influence and use women’s rights as bargaining chips to win the support of conservative sectors of society.

Continued: Friends of the Earth Europe: http://www.foeeurope.org/women-rights-abortion-march-280917