Dutch drop murder case over late abortion

/ Source: The Associated Press

Prosecutors said Thursday they have dropped their murder investigation and will not press charges against a Dutch woman who had a late-term abortion in Spain.

The case sparked debate last year because it was the first in the Netherlands in which a woman faced a possible murder charge for an abortion.

The public prosecutor's office in the central city of Den Bosch said in a statement that the case has been closed because the woman suffers from psychological problems and is considered unlikely to repeat the offense.

It says the investigation found evidence to charge her with complicity in the murder of her unborn child. The child was aborted around the 28th week of her pregnancy. Dutch law allows abortion up to the 24th week and makes it possible to prosecute a Dutch national for a crime committed overseas.

"Under normal circumstances, prosecution would be likely," the statement said.

However, it added that the 25-year-old woman's mental state "very likely influenced her decision to terminate the pregnancy."

Prosecutors said they were unable to establish the unmarried woman's motive for having the late abortion.

"From the start of the investigation the possibility that the suspect was pressured or forced to end the pregnancy was taken into account," the statement said. "However, the investigation found no evidence this was the case."

Boyfriend contacted cops
The woman's identity has not been released. Her lawyer, Gerard Spong, was not immediately available for comment.

Prosecutors began their investigation in November 2007 after the woman's boyfriend reported her to police, saying he wanted to find out how her pregnancy ended.

The woman initially went to a Dutch clinic last year but was turned away because the pregnancy was too advanced for a legal abortion in the Netherlands. However, a staff member gave her a card from the Ginemedex clinic in Barcelona, prosecutors say.

Spanish law allows abortion in the first 12 weeks in case of rape, 22 weeks if fetal malformation exists and at any time if a woman's physical or mental health is deemed to be in danger by a qualified psychiatrist.

It is not known whether the woman consulted a psychiatrist in Spain.

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