Abortion is legal in Belgium, under the following conditions:
- The abortion must be performed in an abortion clinic or a hospital that has an abortion service.
- Before the abortion, a counselling session must take place in which the woman confirms her wish to have an abortion. The abortion is performed at least 6 days later, unless in the meantime the woman changes her mind.
- Abortion is legal up to the 12th week after fertilization of the egg cell. Fertilization happens around 2 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual period. This means the abortion must take place at least 14 weeks after the last menstrual period. This is the 14th week of pregnancy. A counselling session must take place a week before.
The woman decides about an abortion. Her partner cannot take this decision and does not need to be informed.
Girls under the age of 18 can decide for themselves whether they want an abortion. Their parents or other people cannot decide and do not have to be informed. However, in general, counsellors at an abortion clinic will talk with teenagers about the possibility of telling their parents. If the girl is very young, the doctor may refuse to perform the abortion. However, only if he/she refers the girl to another doctor who wants to perform the abortion.
Where can I have an abortion?
In Flanders, you can go to an abortion clinic if you have questions about abortion or want to have an abortion. In French-speaking Belgium, you can go to an abortion clinic or to most Centres de Planning Familial (Family Planning Clinics).
Abortion after the 14th week of pregnancy
Abortion after the 14th week of pregnancy is only legal if:
- the life of the woman will be in danger if she continues the pregnancy, or
- the doctors know that the baby has an incurable disease or will be deformed.
In the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, abortion is legal until 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, in those countries abortions are very rarely performed after 22 weeks of pregnancy.