Jean-Jacques Amy


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    How do we move forward
    Jean-Jacques Amy, MD, DTM, Prof.
    Co-President, Fédération Laïque de Centres de Planning Familial, Brussels.
    Anne Verougstraete, Lucie Van Crombrugge, Pierre Moonens, Dominique Roynet
    Family planning was given an impetus in the late sixties, following the cultural and sexual
    revolution that took place at that time. People stood up and claimed their right to an
    unrestricted sexuality. Simultaneously, they rejected constraints with regard to the control
    of their fertility. These fights were part of a more ambitious undertaking that aimed at
    restructuring society, making this latter more humane and more equalitarian.
    Contraception, then abortion gained acceptance in many countries, but not without eliciting
    much anger in reactionary circles that correctly perceived that these new freedoms would
    endanger the power they had exerted until then. Various issues are indeed raised by
    abortion: sexuality, the meaning of life and, first and foremost, free will, which is anathema
    to extreme right and religious fundamentalists. We should be on the alert because, since
    the early nineties, the powers of darkness are gaining momentum in the United States, in
    Poland, and elsewhere. We must define strategies, not only to drive back these raging
    opponents, but to further develop the availability of contraception and safe abortion, to
    enforce the right of women to control their bodies, and by doing so, to reduce infant and
    maternal mortalities, which are scourges in many parts of the world. To this end, we might
    1. have the European Parliament legislate on the mandatory implementation by the
    various countries of their existent, liberal abortion law: in many such countries the
    access to abortion centres is limited or non-existent;
    2. write a book on the advantages of liberalizing and de-penalizing abortion;
    3. create a working party that would assess the situation in Portugal, Ireland, Poland,
    and Malta;
    4. create an international centre for training doctors and other health personnel with
    regard to voluntary termination of pregnancy;
    5. propagate the use of mifepristone as a “once-a-month” pill, which would result in a
    much smaller release of steroids in the environment than that associated with the
    widespread use of currently used hormonal contraceptives;
    6. pay much more attention to analgesia during induced abortion;
    7. link European and African countries to increase the safety of abortion in these latter;
    8. elect decent and honest citizens to positions of power, and then control them.