Press Releases

Netherlands Affirms Right of Women Raped in Armed Conflict to Abortions as Part of Necessary Medical Care Under International Law


[AMSTERDAM, NL] - Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and Lilaane Ploumen, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development, just affirmed to parliamentary questions submitted in March 2013 in the Netherlands that the foreign ministry agrees with the UK that abortion can be a necessary medical procedure under international humanitarian law, which then must be provided regardless of national laws in countries. The questions were asked by Parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, a Member of the Dutch party D66.

Timmermans and Ploumen state ”It is our opinion that raped women and girls in war zones have the right to any and all necessary medical care of great quality, this includes safe abortions”. The Netherlands also stands ready to engage the US on the issue of the Helms amendment ban on abortion as an obstacle to ensuring women their IHL rights.

An unofficial English translation can be found on the attached PDF.

The Parliamentary questions (in Dutch) can be found here.

The answers (in Dutch) from the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken are available here.

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Tags: Abortion, International Humanitarian Law, Helms Amendment