Danish teenager soon can go for abortion at 15


Northern Europe


Photo AFP, Ted Aljibe

The age limit for abortion should be lowered from 18 to 15, says the Danish government. According to critics, this proposal drives parents to the sidelines. "Parents have to be involved."

It has been fifty years since Denmark legalised abortion. And on that 50th anniversary, Marie Bjerre, the Minister for Equality, announced that the age limit for abortion without parental consent would be lowered from 18 to 15. "The government wants young women to be able to decide over their own bodies and lives. They must be able to make the choice themselves about whether to have an abortion."

Various people welcomed Bjerre's statement. Charlotte Wilken-Jensen, a chief physician at an obstetrics department, believes that it is a "crazy good idea": "We have a society where the sexual minimum age is 15, and to imagine that young people, who can have sex with each other quite legitimately, cannot also have the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, does not add up."

Øjvind Lidegaard, a clinical researcher in hormonal contraception and senior physician, supports the change. "This is particularly relevant for a few immigrant groups. There are situations where doctors, for special reasons, must give young people between the ages of 15 and 17 a special permit. Matters of that nature must be taken up in the regional consultations, which is very cumbersome. Therefore, the new change is a simplification of those procedures", he says.


But there is also opposition, including the right-wing Danish Democrats. "I believe that the change is completely wrong. It is driving the parents to the sidelines. When it is about a child or a teenager who is not yet of legal age, the parents must be involved with support," says the party's equality rapporteur, Susie Jessen. According to her, parents must have the opportunity to be involved. "We already have the abortion consultations you can go to and get support from if you don't want to involve your parents. I fear that this will lead to some girls being left alone."



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