Anne Verougstraete


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    How will we be able to secure the right for abortion? Around the world, in a lot of countries where abortion is legal, women have great difficulties to have access to abortion. A few countries have regulations that state CO is not permitted for health care providers working in the field of reproductive health (Sweden, Finland, Iceland).
    Is this an actual solution for other countries? In most countries, individual CO is written in the abortion law and in medical law, and in Belgium, abortion providers agree to this.

    Which woman wants to be treated by a team that has a negative feelings towards abortion? Anti-choice health care workers obliged to work in the field of abortion could make it a traumatic experience!
    In countries where CO is permitted, our actual fight should focus on the following:
    The state should ensure that abortion services are available in each region (in hospitals or in outpatient facilities) and make sure women know where to go. Public hospitals should offer an abortion service if they want to keep their state funding. Public hospitals should not have the “right” of conscience. Objector status of doctors should be public and quick referral to an abortion service mandatory. Providers, who work in abortion services, should choose to do so (conscientious commitment) so that women are treated with respect and empathy. 
    Doctors performing abortions should not be discriminated and should be dismissed from other tasks who need to be taken over by conscientious objectors. Women’s rights movements should encourage feminists to become doctors and young doctors to perform abortion and be proud to do so.  We need to do a charm offensive to show that working in abortion care permits rich human encounters with women grateful to be able to decide about their future life.