Abortion legislation

Legislation timeline

  • 1981: Law on termination of pregnancy
  • 1984: Laying down provisions for the implementation of the law

Source: IPPF European Network - Updated January 2012 (http://www.ippfen.org/)

Abortion conditions

Ground Gestational limit
To save a woman’s life 24 weeks from LMP
Because foetal impairment 24 weeks from LMP
To preserve a woman’s mental health
To preserve a woman’s physical health
For economic and social reasons
On request 24 weeks from LMP

Source: https://www.government.nl/topics/abortion

Legal conditions

  • Mandatory 5-day waiting period between pre-abortion consultation and abortion procedure (after 44 days after LMP)
  • Contraception to be evoked during at least one of the medical consultations

Specific conditions for minors

  • Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent mandatory for minors under 12
  • Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent required for minors between 12 and 16 except under special circumstances (in that case, the young girl should contact her GP or a doctor at an abortion clinic who will decide whether the girl is able to make a well-considered decision)
  • Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent required for minors between 16 and 18 only if the doctor decides that the young girl is unable to make a well-considered decision on her own.
  • Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent required for minors under 18

Practical conditions

Medical abortion conditions

Place Prescription 1st drug taken 2nd drug taken
OB/GYN department of a hospital/clinic Yes Yes No
Another physician office No
Midwife office No
Abortion centre/clinic Yes Yes No
At home Yes

Source: Data provided by our local expert

Involved healthcare professional

  • Surgical abortion: obstetricians/gynaecologists (OB/GYN) or another physician trained in abortion care
  • Medical abortion: OB/GYN or another physician trained in abortion care

Abortion statistics

Abortion rates per 1.000 women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.igj.nl/actueel/nieuws/2021/12/09/minder-abortussen-in-2020

Overall number of induced abortions

Source: https://www.igj.nl/actueel/nieuws/2021/12/09/minder-abortussen-in-2020

Abortion ratio per 1.000 live births: 169 (2020)

Source: https://www.igj.nl/publicaties/rapporten/2021/12/09/jaarrapportage-2020-wet-afbreking-zwangerschap

Abortions performed “on request”: % ()


Overall number of induced abortions vs. medical abortions

Source: https://www.igj.nl/publicaties/rapporten/2021/12/09/jaarrapportage-2020-wet-afbreking-zwangerschap

Induced abortions per gestational age

Source: https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/igj-in-cijfers/cijfers-zwangerschapsafbreking

Place of abortion

Source: https://www.igj.nl/publicaties/rapporten/2021/12/09/jaarrapportage-2020-wet-afbreking-zwangerschap

Characteristics of women having induced abortion

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.

Source: https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/igj-in-cijfers/cijfers-zwangerschapsafbreking

In 2020, among women who had induced abortion:

  • 91% lived in the Netherlands
  • 35% had at least 1 previous induced abortion
  • 54% had at least 1 child


  • https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/igj-in-cijfers/cijfers-zwangerschapsafbreking

Fertility and contraception

Fertility rates in women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/NLD/netherlands/fertility-rate

Women age at first birth

  • 30.1 years of age (2020)

Overall contraception data

  • 60% used overall contraception in 2017

Contraception during abortion process

  • 73% of women had a contraceptive method prescribed during abortion process (2015). (To be confirmed)


  • https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/figures/detail/37422eng?q=births

Country-specific characteristics

  • Both surgical and medical abortions are free of charge for resident women.
  • Healthcare professionals have the right to conscientiously object but they are required to inform the patient without delay and provide referral.

Download statistics of Netherlands

The statistics presented are freely accessible and may be used, copied, displayed or distributed provided that their source is given. You can choose whether you prefer to download the statistics of the last 10 years or the full data set. Press one of the buttons to generate a report in PDF format for this country.


  • EFTA = European Free Trade Association
  • EU = European Union
  • IUD = intra-uterine device
  • LARC = long-acting reversible contraception
  • LMP = last menstruation period
  • GYN = gynaecologist
  • HCP = health care professional
  • hCG = human chorionic gonadotropin
  • HIV = human immunodeficiency virus
  • OB = obstetrician
  • Rh = Rhesus
  • US = ultrasound


A special thanks to our correspondents for contributing in data collection.
Please contact info@exelgyn.com if you have additional data or would like to comment information

Page last updated: 3 May 2023