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,
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.