Sweden During the Time of Roe v. Wade

January 22, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. All month, we’ll be running posts examining various aspects of this landmark ruling. If you’d like to contribute, let us know!

Ever since its enactment, the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade has been frequently debated as anti-choicers fiercely battle to overturn the decision, while pro-choice activists fight to maintain women’s rights to abortion. Even though legislature in some other countries may not be as famous or as controversial as Roe, they are equally important to women’s choices and reproductive rights.

Growing up in Sweden, we will focus on Sweden’s present abortion law, which was put into place two years after Roe. The first law concerning abortion in Sweden was presented in 1938 when women were allowed abortion on specific grounds, namely due to health reasons (when the woman’s life was in danger); if the woman became pregnant during rape; if a minor was taken advantage of sexually; or if the parents were likely to pass on a disease or disorder that would render the child with severe difficulties. However, parts of the law were based on eugenics–for example, if the mother availed of abortion due to “unfitting genes,” she was also sterilized.

The current abortion law was passed in 1975 and is the one most closely related to Roe, both in time and content. This law states that a woman can have an abortion without naming the reason until week 18. After that she will need to consult with the National Board of Health and Welfare in order to obtain permission to end her pregnancy. After week 22 the child is believed to be able to survive outside the mother’s body (parallel to the concept of viability in Roe) and abortion is no longer allowed. There is no age limit in regards to abortion, but if the woman is under 18 years old, it is recommended that she consults with her parent/parents or guardian.  [Read more...]

Summary of 2012 Global Abortion Laws

As abortion, reproductive freedom and the power to choose continue to be hot topics during the 2012 presidential election (even though it is soon coming to a close), it is also interesting to know what laws concerning abortion exists in different nations. The Center for Reproductive Rights have created an interactive world map that does just that, compares and explain abortion laws all over the world.

The map provides interesting information in different ways:

Country icon key: Different icons express the conditions under which abortion is allowed or prohibited. There are many icons (all explained on the website), but here are a few examples.

R – rape
F – fetal impairment
MH – mental health
I –incest
SA – spousal authorization needed
PA – parental authorization needed

For example, in the United Arab Emirates, both spousal authorization and parental authorization is needed for an abortion. In Iraq, the icon NE describes that the “law does not make an explicit exception to save a woman’s life”. In Argentina abortion is permitted in cases of rape, whereas France have a gestational limit of 14 weeks and New Zealand concludes that abortion is permitted in cases of incest, fetal impairment and to preserve a woman’s mental health. [Read more...]

New Oklahoma abortion law being challenged

pro_choice-794673As if women didn’t have enough threats to their right to choose in this country, Oklahoma is doing its part to make sure women slowly but surely are demonized and criminalized for their right to choose to have an abortion.

If you live in Oklahoma, I officially extend my condolences.

H.B 1595 is a new provision on Oklahoma abortion laws that now requires, among other restrictions and requirements, an official record and reporting system of all abortions occurring within the state. This report will be available for anyone in the world to view, as it will be made public on a website as of March 1st. The Dept of Health, who among others has supported these new provisions, has declared that since the name and “personal information” will not be reported, there is no cause for concern or protest in regards to privacy issues. However, in reviewing the actual text of the law, the first 8 questions that will be asked and reported could easily be used to identify any member of a smaller community. [Read more...]