Mildredhuis: First Abortion Provider Opens in Netherlands

Mildredhuis: First Abortion Provider Opens in Netherlands

Mildredhuis
Source: Ciell

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The Mildredhuis ("Mildred Rutgers House" in Arnhem) becomes the first clinic to offer abortions in the Netherlands. Previous to this both abortion and contraception were illegal in the Netherlands.

Once the laws on abortion were liberalized, there were too many requests for the procedure for regular hospitals to handle. Thus clinics start to open which provide various family planning services, including abortion. Mildredhuis is the first and in its first year it provides abortions for 1,500 woman, many coming from abroad.

Paul Bekkering, one of the founders of Mildredhuis, described in 1997 the situation he and other doctors face in 1971:

"We doctors were confronted with the question: doctor, can you help us? And we treated these vulnerable people in a safe, decent manner. You shouldn't underestimate the misery of illegal abortions, with a hundred complications or more. In my opinion, it's criminal when women are forced to resort to illegal practices."
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