Policy‐Making on Abortion: Arenas, Actors, and Arguments in the Netherlands

Joyce Outshoorn

in Abortion Politics, Women's Movements, and the Democratic State

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199242665
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600258 | DOI:

Series: Gender and Politics

 Policy‐Making on Abortion: Arenas, Actors, and Arguments in the Netherlands

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The abortion issue rose to the agenda in the Netherlands at the same time as the rebirth of the women's movement, when doctors were performing illegal abortions on demand. Thus, at first, the frame of the debate focused on how much autonomy doctors should have in light of moral considerations. As the women's movement activism grew, so did the recognition of abortion as a matter of women's autonomy and control over reproduction. When the government legalized abortion in 1981, it was a victory for the movement although movement activists were not part of the decision‐making process. They did get access during the implementation process and, through an active insider women's policy agency, achieved unfettered access to abortion procedures for all women.

Keywords: abortion law; activism; decision‐making; doctors; Netherlands; policy implementation; women's autonomy; women's movement; women's policy agencies

Chapter.  10274 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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