Labour party PvdA State secretary for public health Jet Bussemaker took the occasion of a guest lecture at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam on Tuesday to make it clear that there is no reason to fear that the ChristenUnie’s agenda will hijack government policy on medical-ethical matters.
Bussemaker said that the government will not tamper with a woman’s right to choose if she opts for an abortion. “The woman makes her decision in consultation with the doctor, and that is how it will stay. Neither the ChristenUnie, nor the prime minister, nor I nor any other politician will be meddling in that.”
The state secretary hopes her statements will allay concerns among critics like her fellow PvdA colleague MP Paul Kalma. He warned this weekend that the ChristenUnie’s principles would be soon playing a major role in policy.
Bussemaker: “Anyone who reads the coalition agreement well sees that the clock is not being turned back in any sense.”
Doctors will not be required to suggest to women that they consider adoption if they have decided on an abortion. Bussemaker said that 85 percent of women who visit the doctor in this situation have already made their mind up whether they want an abortion. The state secretary said it was “not terribly useful” for the doctor to bring up alternatives with this group. It can even have a negative effect on the situation, she said.
Nor will the government tamper with existing euthanasia provisions and patients will not be put under any pressure in making decisions. Bussemaker: “In contrast to what the opposition sometimes suggests, palliative care is not an alternative to euthanasia.”