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

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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/

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BELGIUM – Bishops criticise decision to scrap abortion from penal code

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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

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

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'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

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BELGIUM – Decriminalisation bill debate concludes in the Justice Commission

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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/

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Belgium again debates removal of abortion from the Penal Code

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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/

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Belgium to debate removal of abortion from penal code

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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

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

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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

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Europe: Why we’re marching for reproductive rights

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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

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The Workers Party of Belgium (PTB) has introduced a bill to reform the abortion law

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The Workers Party of Belgium (PTB) has introduced a bill to reform the abortion law

June 25, 2017
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

A number of other proposals for legislation have already been introduced by other opposition parties – sp.a, PS, Challenge and Ecolo-Groen – to remove abortion from the criminal law and to amend the law in a number of different ways. The PTB say they want to ensure that these proposals are addressed as quickly as possible within the Parliamentary Public Health Commission, in order to remove abortion finally and definitively from the Penal Code.

The PTB proposal was introduced on 12 June. It would extend the right to abortion up to 20 weeks after fertilisation, as in the Netherlands. It would also reduce the period of “reflection” between the request for an abortion and the abortion itself from 6 days to 48 hours. It would continue to allow conscientious objection.

They have dedicated the initiative to Lucie Van Crombrugge, feminist activist and a leader in the struggle for the complete decriminalisation of abortion – although she always argued for no restrictions.

Because of the current 12 week time limit, unless the woman has a medical reason for the abortion, and the 6 days for “reflection”, many Belgian women are too late and have to travel abroad, currently some 500 women per year, mainly to the Netherlands, which costs them hundreds of euros.

SOURCE: PTB, by Koen Hostyn, 16 June 2017 ; PHOTO: François Lenoir, Reuters

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/the-workers-party-of-belgium-ptb-has-introduced-a-bill-to-reform-the-abortion-law/

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Lucie Van Crombrugge, lifelong Belgian abortion rights activist, has died aged 72

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Lucie Van Crombrugge, lifelong Belgian abortion rights activist, has died aged 72

June 9, 2017
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

by Nausikaä Martens
Kollektief Anticonceptie – Abortuscentrum Gent

Lucie Van Crombrugge was born in November 1944, the youngest of three children. She grew up happily and as a young girl attended a strict Catholic school. At university, she took a degree in history.

She married an engineer and the couple moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo for several years, where she had two daughters. Lucie looked after the household and the children there and continued to do so after their return to Belgium, as a conscious choice at the time to be a full-time mother. Soon a third child came. She became adept at anti-authoritarian parenting, as a very caring and loving mother who, in a democratic way, let her children decide what they wanted.

Continued at link: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/lucie-van-crombrugge-lifelong-belgian-abortion-rights-activist-has-died-aged-72/

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