Abortion legislation

Legislation timeline

  • 1981: Law on termination of pregnancy (1 May)
  • 1984: Decree laying down provisions for the implementation of the law (17 May)
  • 2023: New law now under construction: from 1 January, no 5-day waiting period required

Source: Data provided by our local expert

Abortion conditions

Ground Gestational limit
To save a woman’s life No limit
Because of foetal impairment Depends on the impairment
To preserve a woman’s mental health
To preserve a woman’s physical health
For economic and social reasons
On request 22 weeks from LMP

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

Legal conditions

  • 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)
  • No consent required from the age of 16


  • Data provided by our local expert

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


  • Data provided by our local expert

Abortion statistics

Abortion rates per 1,000 women aged 15-44

Source: https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/publicaties/jaarverslagen/2022/09/22/wafz-2021

Overall number of induced abortions

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

Abortion ratio per 1.000 live births: 157 (2021)

Source: https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/publicaties/jaarverslagen/2022/09/22/wafz-2021

Abortions performed “on request”: % ()


Overall number of induced abortions vs. medical abortions

Source: https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/publicaties/jaarverslagen/2022/09/22/wafz-2021

Induced abortions per gestational age (2021)

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

Place of abortion (2021)

Source: https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/publicaties/jaarverslagen/2022/09/22/wafz-2021

Private facilities are abortion clinics paid by the government.

Characteristics of women having induced abortion

Distribution of induced abortion according to women age (2021)

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

In 2021, among women who had induced abortion:

  • 90.5% lived in the Netherlands
  • 34% had at least 1 previous induced abortion
  • 54% had at least 1 child


  • https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/igj-in-cijfers/cijfers-zwangerschapsafbreking
  • https://www.igj.nl/over-ons/publicaties/jaarverslagen/2022/09/22/wafz-2021

Fertility and contraception

Fertility rates in women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/figures/detail/37422eng?q=average%20number%20of%20children%20per%20female

Women age at first birth

  • 30.3 years of age (2021)

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).


  • 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.


  • Data provided by our local expert

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.

Abbreviations: 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: 4 July 2023