Belgium's parliament postpones abortion vote

A parliamentary vote on the liberalisation of Belgium's abortion law was once again postponed on Thursday. The bill would allow abortions after the third month of pregnancy. A decision as important as this should be taken under a stable government, some argue. Others say these are undemocratic delaying tactics.

Open/close all quotes
Le Soir (BE) /

No respect for democracy

The fact that a minority has once again delayed the vote on liberalising abortion flies in the face of democracy, Le Soir fumes:

“After the vote was postponed twice due to various amendments, parliament should have voted on it this time out of respect for democracy, if nothing else. ... When the first abortion law was voted on [in 1990], King Baudouin's attitude was criticised [he asked the government to declare him temporarily unable to reign to avoid signing the law.] But what is happening today is beyond all belief. Back then an institutional trick - suspending Baudoin's reign - was resorted to not with the aim of circumventing democracy, but to strengthen it by preserving the supremacy of parliament and thus the people. The exact opposite happened this Thursday.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Wrong time for important decision

La Libre Belgique publishes an open letter signed by almost 3,000 doctors and psychologists and over 11,000 citizens in support of an adjournment:

“After three months of pregnancy, an abortion is an operation that is far more serious for the woman and her loved ones, and also for the medical staff. ... We are calling for a real debate. ... Such a law cannot be passed under these conditions. And certainly not after a health crisis that has exhausted our medical staff. We deplore the haste with which some parliamentarians are seeking to push through this important law in the absence of a government, and above all without a proper democratic debate.”