The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, has recently announced the proposed amending of a key paragraph in the country’s statute of laws regarding abortion. The paragraph, under the risk of dissection and amendment, states that abortions should still be a legal procedure after 12 weeks of foetal development, provided that there is substantial risk of terminal illness to the unborn child and genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome.
It is widely speculated that Solberg’s government seeks to pass the amendment in order to appease the newly allied Christian Democrats and Labour parties that pose a considerable threat to her Conservative governing body. The tightening of abortion laws evidently appealed to the Conservative government as a reasonable compromise to dispel the rallying opposition. Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, deputy leader of the Christian Democrats, told public broadcaster NRK earlier this month that, “It is discriminating to select on the basis of having different skills … Children with Down’s syndrome should have the same legal rights as other children”.
This pro-life argument ignited a mass of protesters in the capital city of Oslo, displaying banners proclaiming the slogans ‘My Body, My Life’ and ‘Defend Abortion’. Solberg’s plan to culminate support for her government and boost her chance of emerging victorious from the 2021 election has led to severe implications against the integrity of her government, with 68% of the Norwegians being against the changes to the abortion laws.
Protests for a woman’s right to choose have continued to blaze throughout 14 Norwegian
cities, attracting the attention of pro-abortion groups on an international scale. It is possible that Solberg may seek to quell the numbers of abortions occurring in Norway on an annual basis, the 2017 figure of 12,700 abortions reaching new heights for the country.
What is perhaps the most difficult to swallow for the protesters in Norway is the fact that Solberg’s government are using the tender issue of abortion as a bargaining chip to suit their electoral aims. Changes are not being made to the abortion laws because of moral argument or reasoned debate, but to appease a political rival and accumulate votes. Had the Norwegian government conducted polls or inspections into the opinions of its citizens, regarding abortions after 12 months, it may have discovered sooner the risk of potential backlash. However, the topic of the laws being changed came swiftly with no warning nor consultation, and when governments attempt radical changes without effective notice, history has taught us that retaliation is inevitable.