Will abortion be decriminalized in Belgium?

The debate of last year regarding abortion, ended with a compromise to remove abortion from the Criminal Code, but still maintaining criminal sanctions. This was achieved when the Swedish majority (MR, N-VA, CD and V, also supported by cdH), approved the compromise. However, several other parties both in opposition and former majorities, were not in agreement.

A working group is being set up in the House with the purpose of drafting a bill to further decriminalize abortion.

Proposals have come in from the PTB, DéFI, PS, Ecolo, sp.a and Open VLd. However, the content of the proposals varies when it comes to the conditions such as lengthening the deadline for abortion or changing the reflection period.

As of right now, the legal deadline for abortion is 12 weeks after conception. The deadline could be extended to 18 weeks or even 20 weeks as proposed by the PTB. The reflection time could be reduced to 48 hours, from 6 days.

The groups who spoke in favor of a continuation of the decriminalization hope to reach a text of consensus.

Vlaams Belang is opposed to abortion. The N-Va, CD & V and cdH have not yet taken a stand. However, under the previous legislature they had refused to support such proposals, which eventually lead to the compromise text.

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