Regularly, women report to the Norwegian Abortion Appeal Board because they have been refused an abortion. Therefore, the president of the Board, Inger Økland, pleads for an extension of the period in which termination of pregnancy is allowed.
Currently, the abortion limit is 12 weeks in Norway. However, the government has set up a special committee to investigate this legislation and the abortion law in general, Vart Land writes.
The Norwegian Abortion Appeal Board has offered advice in the process. “We have discussed raising the abortion limit with the abortion committee and recorded that we think the limit should be raised, Inger Økland tells Vart Land.
As part of the Appeal Board, Økland receives women who have been refused an abortion by the primary abortion board that has to decide after the first twelve weeks of pregnancy have passed Dagen writes.
Yet, Økland sees that many women are granted access to an abortion after these twelve weeks. “I think it is logical to raise the limit for self-determined abortion”, she says. According to Økland, the women experience the procedure with the primary and the appeal council as a burden. “Until week 16 or 18, it does not look like the tribunals have such an important function compared to what the women were accused of”, she states. Økland has not yet decided whether she thinks the limit should be raised to 16 or 18 weeks.
The president of the Appeal Board considers the necessity for permission for abortion as an “underestimation of women.” At the same time, she acknowledges that women who find it difficult to decide about their pregnancy should get the help they need.
Økland does not believe that raising the abortion limit leads to more terminations of pregnancy. She refers to Sweden, where the current limit is 18 weeks. “No one has been able to demonstrate that when the Swedes went from 12 to 18 weeks, the number of abortions went up. The vast majority of abortions are carried out before week 9. Everyone who discovers that they are pregnant and who does not want to be they have an abortion as early as they can.”
The government’s abortion committee aims to present its findings at the end of 2023, Vart Land writes.
Within the coalition, the issue continues to cause division. The Labour Party writes in its program that it wants to abolish the abortion boards for women seeking abortion up to the 18th week. They plead for alternative guidance that puts more emphasis on women’s right to self-determination.
The Centre Party wants to keep the abortion limit at 12 weeks.
The Socialist Venstre Party and the Red Party want to abolish the boards altogether. That would mean that women can get an abortion without having to ask for permission up to the 22nd week of pregnancy. That is the ultimate limit specified by the abortion law. After week 22, abortion can only be performed if the foetus is not viable.