Ethics council mulls new abortion recommendations

Decision could lead to Denmark following in the footsteps of many of its neighbours and increasing the 12-week limit

The Det Etiske Råd ethics council has announced that it will evaluate whether Denmark’s 12-week abortion limit should be changed.

Under current legislation, an abortion in Denmark is only permitted within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy – with a few exceptions.

“It’s been a long time since Det Etiske Råd has looked at the abortion rules, and the issue is currently a hot topic across the European and US continents,” Det Etiske Råd head Leif Vestergaard Pedersen, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

“In Parliament there has also been discourse as to whether the time has come to look at this.”

READ ALSO: Novo Nordisk to help fund abortion travel for American employees

Recommendations due in 2023
Women in Denmark wanting an abortion after the 12-week limit must visit an abortion council, where a case worker, psychiatrist and gynaecologist approve or reject each individual case.

Last year, 803 people applied to get a late abortion and only 53 were rejected.

Denmark has stuck to the 12-week limit for almost 50 years now, despite many of its neighbours allowing abortions later on during pregnancy.

For instance, the limit is 24 weeks in the UK and the Netherlands, 22 weeks in Iceland and 18 weeks in Sweden.

Det Etiske Råd itself cannot change the law, but can offer recommendations relating to the matter. These recommendations are set to be revealed in the summer of 2023.

Like Denmark, most countries in Europe have the 12-week abortion limit – only Poland, Malta and Liechtenstein have, with some exceptions, completely banned abortion.