Abortion: Belgian Bishops want a debate

Belgian Bishops urging for a meaningful debate on abortion

Following the various political outings of recent weeks on a possible enlargement of the conditions of the abortion, the Bishops of Belgium, last Tuesday published a declaration through which they express particular worry that abortion will be considered in the future as “ordinary medical intervention”. With all that flows from it.

Only a year ago, a majority of Belgian elected representatives voted to abort the Criminal Code. As a reminder, the text voted in October 2018 released the IVG Penal Code while maintaining criminal sanctions for women and doctors if this abortion was practiced outside the conditions provided by law.

In this bill, the 12-week period of pregnancy for abortion was maintained. Arrangements had also been made for the six-day reflection period. Finally, the doctor who refuses to perform an abortion should fill in the details of a colleague who agrees to do so. Hindering access to an abortion facility was also punishable, targeting the actions of ” pro life ” activists.

A change of meaning

Today, some elected officials are already considering a new revision of the law on abortion. Some would like to see an increase in the possibility of abortion until the eighteenth week of pregnancy and reduce the mandatory reflexion period from 6 days to 48 hours.

“Beyond a change in practice, this is a change in the meaning of abortion: abortion becomes an ordinary medical intervention,” say the Belgian Bishops.

If some people want to see abortion as a simple medical act, “it will not be lived like this,” say the Bishops’ declaration. “By suggesting that this is an ordinary intervention, the law does not take into account the feelings and experiences of these people. ” With the risk of “taking the issues lightly” and further increase the distress and loneliness of those concerned.

“Considering abortion as a simple medical act also makes it a right, ” say the bishops. And that raises questions. Also, for the doctor, ” Invoking the notion of freedom of conscience will be more and more difficult even if it is maintained “

Life in debate

“The rule of law guarantees the protection of human dignity and the physical integrity of everyone,” said the Bishops who also ask a number of questions: “Is not it the same for a human life to be born? Why pretend it was not life yet? Where is the limit? Why precisely here? Why are these issues so rarely, if ever, addressed in the debate?  “

Finally, for the Church of Belgium said that “this problem concerns the whole society and each one of us “. That is why “It is also incomprehensible that a matter of such importance and sensitivity is dealt with so quickly and without substantive debate “.