Until now, abortion was almost impossible at the Faroe Islands; now this might change
Women from the Danish Faroe Islands no longer have to travel more than 1,300 kilometres for an abortion if it is up to the government. The local authorities on the Danish Islands propose to change this. The Faroer pro-life organisation Pro Vita asked the Justice Ministry to do more research first.
Until now, women from the Faroe Islands who wished to undergo an abortion had to travel to Denmark for the termination of their pregnancy. This trip required at least an hour-long flight, but abortion was practically not allowed on the Islands up till now, TV2 reports. Only in life-threatening situations or in the case of rape or incest a pregnancy could be ended.
Therefore, Bjarni Kárason Petersen, the chairman of the county council for justice on the Islands (a position equal to the one of a Minister of Justice), deemed it time to update the legislation which dated from 1956, he said to KVR. The chairman argues that the current abortion laws no longer reflect public opinion on the matter.
The bill proposed by the government earlier this week aims to give women on the Islands unrestricted access to abortion on demand up to and including the 12th week of pregnancy. Abortions after this term can only be carried out if the mother's life is in danger. A medical professional would have to assess the situation on a case-to-case basis. Abortion counselling beforehand should be optional, the proposal furthermore reads.
Bjarni Kárason Peterson acknowledges that it is hard to find a solution that satisfies everyone. "However, a woman's right to decide over her own body and her reproductive health weighs heavily in this context", he added.
Local pro-life organisation Pro Vita worries about the developments, KVF reports. The organisation is afraid that women who find themselves in a pregnancy conflict only receive an offer of abortion as a solution to their problems. Therefore, the organisation calls on the Ministry of Justice to investigate the circumstances of women who request an abortion. ProVita believes that women should hear about other solutions for their pregnancy. The organisation wants the Ministry of Justice to carry out the investigation before the abortion law is passed.
The Faroe Islands have had one of the tightest abortion legislations in Denmark, Dagen writes. The Norwegian newspaper explains this by pointing out the fact that Christianity is much more prevalent in that region than elsewhere in Denmark.
Earlier, the Nordic Council, a cooperation between Nordic countries, put some pressure on the Faroe government because it did not think that the current laws adhered to the Nordic standards of equality.
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