Abortion Becomes Key Election Issue in Norway as Left-Wing Parties Head for Victory

© AP Photo / Martin MeissnerTwo women watching a video installation showing a human embryo at the new exhibition "wonders of nature" at the Gasometer in Oberhausen, Germany, Saturday, March 12, 2016
Two women watching a video installation showing a human embryo at the new exhibition wonders of nature at the Gasometer in Oberhausen, Germany, Saturday, March 12, 2016 - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.09.2021
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A fevered debate over the acceptable period after which abortion is no longer an option (with variants ranging from 12 to 22 weeks) risks to blow up the nascent coalition tipped to win the upcoming election.
With days left before parliamentary elections in Norway, the left-of-centre “red” bloc races ahead in the polls with a good margin. With the centre-right “blue” bloc led by the Erna Solberg of the Conservatives trailing behind in the polls, Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre looks like the best bid to become Norway's next prime minister.

However, with the finish line approaching and victory in sights, an unexpected disagreement over abortion has arisen, threatening to rip apart the would-be coalition between Labour, the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party.
The unexpected debate flared up during a televised debate when party leaders were asked about their position on extending the abortion limit, which currently stands at 12 weeks.

The Socialist Left Party wants to move the boundary all the way up to week 22 of pregnancy, when a foetus is considered viable according to current Norwegian rules. This opinion was shared by the Reds, another left-wing party and potential ally, TV2 reported.
However, while emphasising that women should have more self-determination and stressing readiness for compromise until week 18, Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre called the week 22 proposal “an extreme point of view”.
The Centre Party, another prospective member of the coalition, is in favour of maintaining the current rules, which left the allies in a deadlock, described by Norwegian media as “Abortion thriller”.
Today, a woman in Norway can have an abortion after week 12 if approved by a so-called abortion committee. Erna Solberg, the incumbent Conservative prime minister, is also in favour of maintaining the current rules.

“The abortion committee, which we have today, works well. It has regard for the woman's situation, and it is often a very good tool”, Solberg said.
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With the national-conservative Progress Party sitting on the fence in the abortion debate, the Christian People's Party is so far the only one in favour of tightening the current rules.

Norway's 2021 election will be held on Monday, 13 September.
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