Danish parties spark abortion debate


Northern Europe


Pro-choice protest in Denmark. Photo Facebook, Sex og Samfund

Two prominent political parties in Denmark seek to extend abortion limits. Currently, the country allows abortion up to the twelfth week of pregnancy. With their action, the politicians proliferate the abortion debate.

The Red-Green party, Enhedslisten and the Liberal party Venstre do not have a specific abortion limit in mind, Vart Land reports, based on an article in Jyllands-Posten. Together, both parties had 30,3 percent of the votes in the 2019 general election.

According to the Red-Green spokesperson for equality , Pernille Skipper, the debate is necessary because Denmark and other countries have an "anti-woke and ultra-conservative movement that goes against LGBT rights, and women's rights to their bodies and abortion." According to Skipper, it is, therefore, necessary for politicians to discuss where Danish legislation should draw the boundaries concerning abortion limits.

The Danish politicians follow the Norwegian developments in the abortion debate. There, the government recently appointed an abortion committee tasked with researching the pros and cons of extending abortion limits. The Liberal spokesperson for equality, Maja Torp, tells Jyllands-Posten that she is curious about the committee's arguments and that the party will follow its conclusion. She expects the committee's conclusion to be a good indicator of the current times.

Reaction to the global abortion debate

With the restriction of 12 weeks, Denmark has one of the stricter abortion laws in Western Europe, Jyllands-Posten writes. In some other countries, such as the Netherlands, abortion is allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. In 2007, the ethical council of Denmark looked at extending the limit, but it was decided that it should stay the same. The issue has not been raised since then.

The debate in Denmark can be seen as a reaction to the global abortion debate after the decision of the US Supreme Court. According to the Norwegian expert on Scandinavian matters, Hilde Sandvik, theological influences on the abortion debate have been quite influential in Denmark. Therefore, she argues, the country is a step behind on the abortion legislation of other countries. "The Danish Council of Ethics has taken self-criticism that they have not been on the ball regarding the abortion issue. They have not discussed abortion in 15 years", according to Sandvik in Vart Land.

Dividing issue

Last year, abortion led to an internal dispute within the Christian Democratic Party, as CNE.news reported earlier. Party leader Isabella Arendt resigned because she disagreed with the party's stance on the right to abortion. Arendt wanted a more restrictive approach, while other party members advocated a more pro-choice stance. Even though Arendt favoured free access to abortion, she argued that society should aim more at preventing unwanted pregnancies. "In the perfect world, pregnancies are always an active choice. With proper teaching, contraception and conversations, we can go very far", she then said.



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