Christian Democrat Party in Denmark changes course on abortion rights


Northern Europe


Party leader Jeppe Hedaa earlier already said that he wants to shift the focus of the party. Photo X, Jeppe Hedaa

Denmark’s Christian Democrat party (Kristeligt Folkeparti) will now include abortion into its party programme.

Once historically recognised as an anti-abortion party, the shifted stance has surprised many of its leaders and followers, according to a report from Kristeligt Dagblad. The party recently announced that it will allow a woman to terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks.

"We support a woman's right to terminate the pregnancy. This is a significant change, because our old reality was that we were fundamentally against abortion. We have long agreed that it was right to support women's rights, but we have never taken that discussion to the end by changing it in our party programme," party chairman, Jeppe Hedaa said.

He added that the new position represents the views of many “modern Christians.” He also said that many others have “closed their ears” to how the party previously represented themselves on abortion.


Kasper Møller Hansen, a political science professor at the University of Copenhagen also believes that the party was never anti-abortion but more nuanced in the national debate. Now it has become a matter of those supporting or opposing the issue, which will force the party to accept the consequences. While the recent move may attract more pro-choice Christians, said that the decision will force the party to find a new identity, he said.

“We must put a word on each party. The word I would have put on the Christian Democrats historically is that it is the party with moral and ethical considerations as one of their hallmarks. It must find a new brand matter and raison d'être, so that it does not end up in the black hole in the middle of politics,” he said.

Amid questions over the party’s identity, Frits Madsen, chairman of Silkeborg’s Christian Democrats, said that the announcement could have been worded differently. He believes that emphasising a “woman’s free right to abortion” would have been a better presentation on the issue.

"We have a law from 1973 that we must respect, but that is not the same as saying that it is right. I would much rather talk about why it is legal to take the life of a new human being. A life, which is growing minute by minute. The chairman draws the party's official policy, after all. But in the Christian Democrats we are so broad that we are allowed not to totally agree on everything, he said to Kristeligt Dabglad.


While the chairman, Jeppe Hedaa, welcomes disagreement, he does not want his members to “doubt” the party’s platform or its “line.” Yet, he remains open to questions on the discussion.

"We still want to talk about abortion. It is not free for anyone to terminate a pregnancy. Life in all phases is precious, and for that reason a pregnancy must be treated with respect. In this context, we have a number of political programs for prevention of abortion and to help women in the dilemma. But no one wants a woman to be left with an unwanted pregnancy and not be able to terminate the pregnancy in the first three months. Not even us,” he said.

When it comes to abortion rights, Denmark has some of the strictest laws in the EU, according to previous CNE reporting. The current law stipulates that a woman can terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks. The country first looked at extending the period in 2007, but it was decided that it should remain the same. While politicians were following the issue’s developments in Norway, the Danish government appointed a committee to analyse the “pros and cons” of increasing the 12-week limit. Still, factors involving theology and the Danish Council of Ethics have led to a delay in a final decision, according to Hilde Sandvik, a Norwegian expert on Scandinavian issues. Her comments were originally published in a Vart Land report.



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