By Jonathon Van Maren
As of February of 2019, the law in the Netherlands formally changed in a way that is proving far more significant than many originally anticipated. In response to a petition signed by 82,000 people, the government now allows people to register their stillborn children as a legal persons in the Personal Records Database, something that had not previously been permitted. The push for this change had been led by mothers who wished their sons and daughters who died before birth to be recognized as people of value.
What the government did not expect was a young woman who deeply regretted her abortion coming forward to register her aborted child as a legal person, something she was able to do since mothers can now seek recognition for children who died before birth. Yara’s tiny child, who died at fourteen weeks in an Amsterdam abortion clinic, obviously qualifies. Any parent can report a child who died prior to birth regardless of the time frame, and the deceased child is then added to the Dutch “persons list” next to the information of the parent(s). This means the child’s name also appears on the official government website, as well as on the populations register for persons.