Last Thursday afternoon, hundreds of women gathered on the Eidsvolls Plass in Olso, Norway. The outraged women were united against Norway’s new abortion laws.
A small Christian Democrats party won over the Norwegian Parliament during the night of the 13th of June. They voted in favour of an additional restriction to Norway’s long-standing abortion law. This change applies to women carrying more than one foetus. In other words, women in Norway will now lose their right to abort if they are expecting twins or more.
Christian Democrats included in Norway’s politics
The controversial vote was concluded after an extended debate that lasted past midnight. According to News in English, a total of 105 Members of Parliament voted in favour of the change, including members of the four government parties plus several MPs from the rural-oriented Center Party. A total of 64 MPs voted against the proposal, including all MPs from the Labour, Socialist Left and Reds parties.
The Norwegian parliament’s decision to tighten its abortion laws came after months of debate over the conservative government’s decision to convince the Christian Democrats to join their coalition. The Christian Democrats have long campaigned for restricting abortions and created major challenges for Prime Minister Erna Solberg (who firmly supports women’s right to an abortion) in 2014 when they acted as a support party for her coalition in Parliament.
News in English reported that those efforts ultimately failed, but the Christian Democrats came back in January when they met with Solberg’s Conservatives plus the Progress and Liberal parties that already were in her government to discuss forming an expanded coalition and hammer out a new potential platform. They emerged from their talks with a new majority government that included the Christian Democrats, but which also proposed changing women’s unrestricted right to abort one fetus or more in the event of eventual multiple births.
The Norwegian Newspaper VG covered Thursday’s protest in Oslo.
Women protestors wore red dresses from Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale to express their rage. “The suit expresses how I feel. This is a serious attack on my rights, my daughter and all women,” Sonia Arisland, a protestor, said. She explained: “When you first start with that kind of attack on our rights as a political negotiating card to keep a position of power, then the road is not long before it gets even worse.” VG’s journalist asked: “Like in Handmaid’s Tale?” To which Sonia replied: “Yes. Some will think this is an excessive way of protesting, but when you see what is happening in Alabama and elsewhere, it’s necessary to defend our rights.”
Others made a stand wearing white underwear with fake blood painted on their pubic area. It was Christina Fraas, a Norwegian influencer who put this bold way of expression. She later posted portraits of 30 different women wearing the fake blood-stained underwear on her Instagram account.
“We are staging a dangerous home abortion”, Fraas explained to VG. “Many think it is disgusting and scary – but we hope it will make people realize that this the bloody truth,” said Fraad. She continued: “This is a step in the wrong direction. When we first make a change, it is very easy to do more and more. We see what happens outside of Norway.”
Not covered in the media
Norway’s new abortion laws are currently barely covered on any media. A few Norwegian publications are writing about it, and one article written in English was found.