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Danish parties agree to raise abortion limit to 18 weeks

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish parties agree to raise abortion limit to 18 weeks
Abortion in Denmark has been legal since 1973. File photo: Anne Bæk/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark's government has struck a deal with four other parties to raise the point in a pregnancy from which a foetus can be aborted from 12 weeks to 18 weeks, in the first big change to Danish abortion law in 50 years.

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The government struck the deal with the Socialist Left Party, the Red Green Alliance, the Social Liberal Party and the Alternative party, last week with the formal announcement made on Monday  

"In terms of health, there is no evidence for the current week limit, nor is there anything to suggest that there will be significantly more or later abortions by moving the week limit," Sophie Løhde, Denmark's Minister of the Interior and Health, said in a press release announcing the deal.

The move follows the recommendations of Denmark's Ethics Council, which in September 2023 proposed raising the term limit, pointing out that Denmark had one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Western Europe. 

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Under the deal, the seven parties, together with the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives, have also entered into an agreement to replace the five regional abortion bodies with a new national abortion board, which will be based in Aarhus. 

From July 1st, 2025, this new board will be able to grant permission for abortions after the 18th week of pregnancy if there are special considerations to take into account. 

The parties have also agreed to grant 15-17-year-olds the right to have an abortion without parental consent or permission from the abortion board.

Marie Bjerre, Denmark's minister for Digitalization and Equality, said in the press release that this followed logically from the age of sexual consent, which is 15 years old in Denmark. 

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"Choosing whether to have an abortion is a difficult situation, and I hope that young women would get the support of their parents. But if there is disagreement, it must ultimately be the young woman's own decision whether she wants to be a mother," she said. 

The bill will be tabled in parliament over the coming year with the changes then coming into force on June 1st, 2025.

The right to free abortion was introduced in Denmark in 1973. 

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