Netherlands Ends Provision of Free Contraception For All

The Netherlands Christian Democratic-led government instituted a new law requiring women over the age of 21 to pay for contraception, ending its policies of free contraception for all women and widespread sexual education in the country. The new law came into force on the first of this month.

The President of the Dutch Society for Contraception fears that the new law will result in a surge of abortions, particularly amongst poorer women, reports BBC News. According to Kaiser, the Netherlands was known to have the lowest teen pregnancy and abortion rates in Europe, though the number of abortions in the country has been steadily rising over the past decade. One of the reasons for the increase in abortions has been attributed to the withdrawal of sex education programs that were once available as well as the fact that Dutch authorities are becoming more complacent, reports BBC News.

“If it is more difficult to get contraception, then we are on the wrong path in Holland,” Annet Jansen of Amsterdam’s Centre for Sexual Health told the BBC. “It used to be easily available to rich and poor. Now it will get worse.”

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BBC News 1/15/04; Kaiser 1/20/04

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