Pressure is reportedly growing in Norway to raise the nation’s abortion limits, with some advocates arguing they should be allowed to end the life of a preborn child as old as 16 to 18 weeks gestation. Others want to be able to kill preborn children as late as 22 weeks, which is the arbitrary “viability” standard.
Currently, abortion in Norway is legal through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After 12 weeks, it is permissible only by special permission up until 22 weeks, and after 22 weeks it is allowed in cases in which the preborn child is not expected to survive after birth. The government has now set up an investigation to review the country’s law and determine whether abortion should be allowed in even later stages of pregnancy.
The abortion process typically used in the second trimester is a D&E abortion, sometimes referred to as a “dismemberment” abortion due to the fact that the process involves the dismemberment of limbs from the body of the living child in the womb before the rest of her body is removed in pieces, with her skull crushed by forceps:
Inger Økland, of the Norwegian Abortion Appeal Board, says that the board would like to see the age limit raised. “We have discussed raising the abortion limit with the abortion committee and recorded that we think the limit should be raised,” she told Vart Land.
CNE reports that part of the appeal board’s job is to grant approval for women who request abortions after the 12-week cutoff. Økland insists that since the appeal board grants most of these requests, abortions should just be allowed until 16 or 18 weeks. She says not allowing mothers to make this decision to abort later in pregnancy is an “underestimation of women.”
“I think it is logical to raise the limit for self-determined abortion,” she said. “Until week 16 or 18, it does not look like the tribunals have such an important function compared to what the women were accused of.”
Despite the call to raise the abortion limit, there is no science that says it would be somehow more humane to abort a 12-week-old preborn child as opposed to a 16-week preborn child. Abortion at any stage is the homicide of an undelivered human being.
By 12 weeks, the baby has taste buds, her nose and lips are fully formed, and she can even make complex facial expressions. By this stage of development, her arms have also grown to their final proportion relative to her body size, and her whole body responds to light touch. The child’s development is even more pronounced at 16 to 20 weeks, as the baby’s voice box forms, teeth enamel develops, and breathing and heart rate have more fully developed.
Despite the push to broaden the abortion limit, the country is also experiencing record-low birth rates. Earlier this year, the Minister for Children and Families begged mothers to have a third child and to start having children before their 30th birthday — an idea that appears inconsistent with the push for more abortion.
“[I]t is time for a more open debate about what needs to be done, so that more young people decide to start a family earlier than when they are well into their 30s, and that more people have their third child,” minister Kjersti Toppe said in January.