Most pregnant women whose foetus is proven to have a genetic abnormality choose to have an abortion, but reaching that decision is a painful, exhausting process for most of them. “The women’s doubt, pain and sorrow make abortion more moral – in the eyes of society as well as her own,” says Sølvi Marie Risøy, a researcher at the University of Bergen.
The presumed vulnerability of women seeking an abortion limits the Norwegian debate on abortion – in both directions.
Getting pregnant can be dangerous, if you are poor and live in a country where women are little valued. In Somalia and Sierra Leone, every seventh woman dies during pregnancy. Berit Austveg, specialist in community medicine, has written a book about what she calls the world’s greatest social injustice: maternal mortality.