THE HAGUE–When abortion is legalised in St. Maarten in the future, residents of St. Eustatius and Saba may opt to undergo the procedure on that island.
Dutch caretaker Minister of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports Edith Schippers stated this in a letter she sent to the Second Chamber on Monday in relation to her visit to the islands in April this year.
Schippers explained that she understood from her colleague in St. Maarten, Minister Cornelius de Weever, that government had plans to legalise abortion in the future. The current Penal Code of Country St. Maarten forbids abortion. Abortion became legal in the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba on October 10, 2011.
Legalising abortion may take a while, but the best solution would be to have patients from St. Eustatius and Saba treated in St. Maarten when there are no legal restrictions there, stated Schippers. Bonaire’s San Francisco Hospital has submitted a request for a permit to carry out abortions, but no such request has come from St. Eustatius or Saba, and the minister doesn’t expect this to happen either.
For now on Bonaire
Bonaire’s request will be honoured under a number of quality conditions, stated Schippers. The Dutch Public Health Inspection will supervise this. When the permit has come through, patients from St. Eustatius and Saba will be referred to Bonaire to terminate their pregnancies. The aspect of privacy calls for further analysis, she added.
In the letter, the minister also addressed the issue of euthanasia. The law to legalise euthanasia, which will regulate the conditions under which ending a person’s life becomes possible, will become effective on October 10 this year. For the practical execution of this law, the islands will need a mortician. Bonaire is about to appoint such a person, but this matter is more complex in St. Eustatius and Saba. The minister has promised that her ministry will “think along” to appoint a mortician for these islands.
In the area of sports, Schippers announced that her ministry would help to finance the training of local sport coaches on all three islands. According to the minister, it is important to train local people to stimulate an active, healthy lifestyle. Having local sports coaches also promotes employment on the islands. She said she would make funds available to finance half of the cost to train local sports coaches.
From Daily Herald June 5 2012