The Women's Museum Norway recently launched the abortion exhibition HYSJ! (‘HUSH!’). Their goal is to create a space for talking about a topic that is still shameful for many women today.
On 8 August, a proposal to legalise elective abortion was debated and rejected in Argentina’s highest legislative body. Despite the decision, Argentina has shown itself as a democracy with room for female voices, according to researcher Camila Gianella.
In Nicaragua, the authorities want more women to give birth in hospital. The aim for better figures overshadow the quality of the health care service to poor women, according to Birgit Kvernflaten.
The presumed vulnerability of women seeking an abortion limits the Norwegian debate on abortion – in both directions.
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.
Nearly all abortions in Norway today are performed with the abortion pill Mifepristone. This has resulted in shorter waiting time, earlier abortions, and the possibility to have abortions at home.
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.