Number of young Dutch girls choosing abortion skyrockets


Western Europe

Flyers of a Dutch pro-life organisation. Photo ANP, Koen van Weel

In 2021, the number of young girls (up to 15 years) grew explosively in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the number of abortions after prenatal screenings increased.

Last year, 101 girls of 15 years and under chose abortion. That was shown by statistics of the Dutch Inspection Healthcare and Youth. It is the first time that this number is higher than 100. In 2020, there were still 58 abortions of girls under 15.

The reason for the explosive growth is unknown. In 2019, 70 young girls underwent an abortion. In the years before that, the number varied between 49 and 83.

Prenatal screening

The number of abortions after prenatal screening also increased from 2195 in 2021 to 3291 in 2022. That adds up to an increase of close to 50 per cent.

Despite the growing numbers among young girls and after prenatal screenings, the total number of abortions declined slightly in 2021 by 1 per cent. It amounted to 31,049 abortions in total.

This decline was mainly visible within the group of Dutch women. The number of abortions among foreign women grew by 4.5 per cent to almost 3000. There are always quite a few foreign women who come to the Netherlands for an abortion, as Holland is the only country within the European Union that allows abortion up to 24 weeks.


A survey from the Dutch pro-life group “NPV-Zorg voor Leven” showed recently that the Dutch differ in opinion about the abortion limit. That is reported by the Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad. More than half of the Dutch think that the abortion limit should be tighter than the current 24 weeks when a woman chooses for abortion because of social reasons. Examples of social reasons are no desire for children or financial problems. About 22 per cent of the Dutch believe that abortion should not be allowed in such cases as soon as the foetus has a heartbeat (around five weeks after conception).

However, when the child has a disorder, most Dutch are more liberal in their opinion on the abortion limit. Only 10 per cent thinks that abortion should not be allowed in these cases from the moment of conception. About 18 per cent believes that abortion for medical reasons is acceptable until the child can survive outside the womb. Another 18 per cent even thinks abortion is ethically justifiable up till birth in the case of medical deficiencies.

Diederik van Dijk, director of NPV-Zorg voor Leven is not surprised by the results. “From our regular street interviews on abortion, we know that many people are very nuanced in their opinion on abortion. They feel it is about a living being, not a clump of cells.”

The survey shows that both pro and anti-abortion groups are startled when reading about the main reasons for abortion. Most people who choose abortion do so because their family is already complete, they have financial problems, or they lack sufficient housing. One person responds: “I think the top three reasons for abortion are bad. This can be solved with good anti-conception. I do not find this a good reason to remove a child.”