16:50 GMT25 February 2021
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    While the right-of-the-centre parties have seen the restrictions as “perfectly ethical”, left-wing opposition parties have drawn comparisons with the controversial near-total abortion ban in Alabama. In response, female pro-abortion activists have launched a gory protest involving graphic images.

    After a protracted debate that lasted many hours, the Norwegian government parties have placed a restriction on the country's abortion law, triggering mixed opinions, national broadcaster NRK reported.

    Among others, the parliament's decision means that women pregnant with twins or more must first get the permission of a health committee before removing any of the foetuses. Norwegian media outlets have called the restrictions “historic".

    Several government politicians assured that the right to self-determined abortion has not been threatened. Senior right-wing Progress Party politician Per-Willy Amundsen called the changes “completely natural” and “responsible”, suggesting they handled “some of the most important ethical issues”.

    Geir Jørgen Bekkevold of the Christian Democrats argued that women and future babies now have a safer legal framework.

    “This change of law takes foetal reduction seriously as a very demanding ethical choice. Both personnel who perform the interventions and the women themselves think so”, Bekkevold said, as quoted by NRK.

    By contrast, left-of-the-centre parties, such as Labour, the Socialist Left and the Reds, saw the changes as an encroachment on women's free choice. Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre likened the tightening to Alabama's controversial near-total abortion ban, which sent ripples across American society. Støre called the US a trendsetter, venturing that the Norwegian restrictions could be only the first step, suggesting that right-wing parties and religious institutions across the world were attempting to “narrow down women's rights”.

    Christian Democrat Jørgen Bekkevold said that while renouncing what is happening in Alabama, he firmly rejected putting this matter into a Norwegian context.

    The tightening of the abortion law has triggered vocal protests across the country. Influencer Christina Fraas published 30 photographs of women posing in white underwear with a bloody abdomen (viewer discretion is advised) All the women hold knitting needles which in the past were used in self-induced abortions alongside coat hangers.

    “If you think my bloody contribution is unpleasant, I hope you understand that it illustrates bloody seriousness”, Fraas wrote, introducing her “Don't touch the abortion law” protest.

    On Thursday afternoon, a demonstration of women in bloody underwear was held in front of the Norwegian Parliament.

    The legality of abortion in Norway has undergone a significant change over the past centuries. In Christian V's legislation of 1687, abortion was punishable by death. By 1842, it ceased to be a capital offence, but could still be punished by up to six years of imprisonment. In 1902, it was allowed in cases where the mother's life was in danger or the child would be stillborn. At present, abortion on request is available in the first 12 weeks and by application up to the 18th week. Thereafter, only under special circumstances.


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    women's rights, women, protest, abortion, Scandinavia, Norway
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