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…”