THE BELGIAN ABORTION LEGISLATION

INTRO

Although abortion has been legal in Belgium under certain conditions since 3 April 1990, it would appear that some people are not aware of this.

And yet, the events of 30 March 1990 did stir up quite an emotional reaction: King Baldwin refused to give royal assent to what was being referred to at that time as the "Abortion Act" (a law which was to partially decriminalise abortion, i.e. remove it from the penal code) and the threat of a constitutional crisis loomed.

As a solution, the government proclaimed that for the duration of two days the King would be deemed "unable to reign” on moral grounds. The 'Lallemand-Michielssens' draft bill of law, which had already been approved by Parliament, was subsequently ratified and signed by the Council of Ministers (Law of 3/4/1990 – Bulletin of Acts 5/4/1990). Thus, after years of political conflict, Belgium finally had a liberalised legislation concerning abortion.