Pregnancy termination - procedure

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If it’s an unwanted pregnancy, you can have a termination. To arrange this, contact a Sense clinic or an abortion clinic and they will give you an assessment appointment. After this appointment, you will have to wait at least 5 days (time to think it over). The abortion can’t be carried out until then. After the abortion, you will be given a follow-up check.

Assessment appointment

At the assessment appointment, you talk to a doctor or a nurse. They will ask you questions and give you information. For example:

  • Are you generally in good health?
  • What made you decide to have a termination?
  • Information about the procedure.
  • Information about using contraception after the abortion.
  • Do you perhaps have an STI?

Are you under 16?

If you are under 16, you will need permission from 1 of your parents or guardians before you can have an abortion. If they refuse to give permission or you don't want to ask them, there are other solutions. A doctor at the abortion clinic may give permission.

Time to think it over

The term ‘overdue’ means the days following the date when you should have had your period.

Are you more than 16 days overdue?
Then you have to think carefully about terminating the pregnancy, for at least 5 days. A doctor can carry out the abortion from the 6th day after your assessment appointment. If you have already talked to your own doctor about having an abortion, then the time to think it over starts from the date of your appointment with him or her. So you can have an abortion 6 days after that.

The 5-day period to think it over is written into the Dutch abortion law and is designed to stop people making over-hasty decisions.

Are you less than 16 days overdue?
You don't have to wait for 5 days. You can terminate your pregnancy straightaway (you can do this by using the very early termination procedure).


Abortion is free for all women registered as living in the Netherlands. Women who don't live in the Netherlands have to pay for the treatment themselves.

Follow-up check

3 weeks after the abortion, you go back to the clinic or your doctor’s surgery for a follow-up check. The doctor checks to make sure you’re not still pregnant and examines you for possible infections. You also have the chance to talk about how the abortion went.

Not successful?

In a very few cases, the termination may not have worked. This happens in 1 to 4 per cent of abortion-pill treatments, and less than 1 per cent of other types of termination. If the pregnancy has not be terminated, you will need to have a vacuum aspiration.

Care and support

Having an abortion can be an emotional experience. Lots of women have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, they don't want to be pregnant. On the other hand, they feel guilty and sad. This is completely normal. You may be full of doubt after the procedure. Don't ignore your feelings. Try talking about how you feel to someone you trust. You can also make an appointment with someone from Sense or a social worker at pregnancy advisory service Fiom.

Want to know more about the procedure?

“It was the right decision; I have no doubts about that. But...”
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