Source: The Guardian
Daniel Boffey in Brussels
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.
As in England and Wales, it remains a criminal and imprisonable offence in Belgium to have an abortion outside the restrictions imposed by the state. Abortion within 12 weeks of conception was legalised in 1990, and there is a mandatory six-day period of counselling and “reflection”.