FEATURE: What's been happening in Ireland & International Women’s Day in Norway
International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
18 March 2019
In the midst of the continuing shower of news from all over the world that I share with you, I’ve been collecting stories for a feature on Ireland. This is not a definitive piece, that will come from those who have been on the frontlines, but is based primarily on written information from a few key people and what has been in the media. This history describes an almost unique series of events, and one worth learning from. It’s a story of optimism winning over pessimism, of passionate positive action breaking down out-of-date barriers, and particularly of women’s personal stories, doorstep advocacy, highly visible supportive doctors and policymakers, all working with government to change the mindset of a nation and win a critical mass of support. They successfully created a sea-change in law, policy and service delivery in the blink of an eye. Edited by Marge Berer
The story in a nutshell
It took only seven months from the referendum that repealed the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in May 2018 for the law to be changed, providers trained, methods approved and ordered, and abortion services to become available officially in Ireland on 2 January 2019, free for everyone who is covered by existing schemes, such as the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme.
NORWAY – New Government backsliding on abortion rights
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
Mar 5, 2019
The government of Norway since the last election in 2017 had been led by a coalition of three parties. Last autumn, a fourth (anti-abortion) party was invited to join the coalition in order for the other three parties to obtain a majority of seats. The negotiations with this new party led to a new “regulation of the Norwegian abortion law”. Since 1978, the law had permitted abortion on request up to 12 weeks, with no reasons or permission required.
The new “regulation” is about multi-fetal pregnancy reduction, that is, in a pregnancy with more than one embryo/fetus, aborting some but not all, usually all but one or two. The practice is widely accepted and used in the USA and across Europe. It began in the early days of in vitro fertilisation, when multiple embryos were created in order to increase the chances of at least one implanting. In Norway, the reduction of multi-fetal pregnancies was regarded as covered by the abortion law. In 2001 the Law Department in the Ministry of Health stated that: “With multi-fetal pregnancies the legal right of the fetus or the mother has not changed, and the law applies in the same way for a single fetus pregnancy as for multi-fetus pregnancy.” And in 2016 they wrote: “The Law Department states that the abortion law also applies to fetus-reduction in multi-fetal pregnancies…”
Instrumentalising women’s reproductive vulnerability for political gain: where in the world does it stop?
November 30, 2018
A move to restrict abortion in Norway is a particularly stark example of the readiness with which women’s reproductive vulnerability is traded as a kind of political capital
There is an extraordinary piece of instrumentalisation of women’s health for political gain going on in an unlikely quarter, just now.
Norway has both a relatively good record on women’s rights, and a balanced and popular abortion law with no popular or parliamentary mandate for change. It also has low and falling abortion rates, 80% of which are conducted as a woman’s choice under 9 weeks, and just 4%—far more tightly regulated than, for example, in either Sweden or the UK—in the second trimester.
Abortion demonstrations draw thousands across Norway after prime minister proposes tightening laws
Thousands joined demonstrations in cities around the country over politicians suggestion that abortion laws could be tightened
Alex Matthews-King, Health Correspondent
Nov 17, 2018
Thousands of Norwegians joined nationwide protests on Saturday as part of a backlash against proposals by the leader of the ruling coalition government which would tighten the country’s abortion laws.
Prime minister Erna Solberg, has suggested amending a key paragraph of existing legislation which allows abortions after 12 weeks where the child will have a “serious illness” like Down’s syndrome, or in some cases for multiple births.
Thousands protest in Norway against restricting abortion
Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Norwegian cities on Saturday against restricting women's access to abortion, the subject of talks between the ruling minority coalition and a small party seeking to join the government.
17 Nov 2018
OSLO: Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Norwegian cities on Saturday against restricting women's access to abortion, the subject of talks between the ruling minority coalition and a small party seeking to join the government.
In Norway's capital Oslo, the demonstrators, some pushing children in strollers, marched through the city centre carrying banners with slogans such as "My body my right" and "Defend abortion".
Norway Will Negotiate Discriminatory Elements in Abortion Act
November 5, 2018
Prime Minister Erna Solberg does not want to change abortion practice in Norway, but will remove “discriminatory element in the law”, according to Dagens Næringsliv.
Solberg has been criticized for her willingness to negotiate changes in the Abortion Act, as she needs the support of Christian Democrats (KrF) for her bourgeois government.
In an interview with the newspaper, Solberg says that women should still be able to use abortion right after 12 weeks if there is a high risk of the child having serious disabilities.
Norway plays politics with abortion laws
By Lisbeth Kirk
OSLO, 30. Oct 2018
Norway's conservative prime minister, Erna Solberg, has proposed tightening the country's abortion laws, in a political gambit that goes against Europe's liberal trend.
Her idea is to amend paragraph 2c in Norway's Abortion Act - also known as the Downs Paragraph, by reference to Downs Syndrome, a genetic disorder.
1968: a revolutionary year – also for reproduction
By: Nikolai Astrup, Minister of International Development, Norway;- Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden; Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark; and Anne-Mari Virolainen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland.
This year, in 2018, it is 50 years since reproductive rights – including the right to decide whether to have children and how many children to have – were first formally recognised.
More than 200 million women in developing countries are still denied these rights.
1968 gave its name to a generation known for its ambition to change the world for the better. And a historic decision was made that year, a decision with the potential to fundamentally change the lives of all people – and of women in particular.
THL: Finland has Nordic region's lowest abortion rate
Fewer abortions are performed in Finland per capita than in other Nordic countries, according to preliminary figures from the National Institute for Health and Welfare used in a recent study at the University of Oulu.
National Institute for Health and Welfare, THL, reports that abortions among those under 20 years of age have declined steeply in recent years, and are now at half the level of the early 2000s. The agency's senior planning officer Anna Heino says there are many reasons for the downturn.
"Municipalities have invested in bringing the number down, health information classes have been obligatory in school since the early 2000s and the internet is full of accurate information on reproductive health and contraception," Heino says.
Continued at source: https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/thl_finland_has_nordic_regions_lowest_abortion_rate/9915409
Norway to increase support for women's health and safe abortion
Press release | Date: Oct 12, 2017
'Norway is at the forefront of efforts to promote gender equality and women's health at the international level. We are among the biggest donors to efforts in this field, but there are still many unmet needs. The Government therefore proposes an increase of NOK 180 million in earmarked support for women's health and safe abortion in 2018. 'This increase comes in addition to the major increase in funding earlier this year, in connection with the SheDecides initiative,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
Continued at source: Government of Norway: https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/womens_health/id2574852/