Health Minister To Review Iceland's Abortion Law - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Health Minister To Review Iceland’s Abortion Law

Published December 8, 2015

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The Minister of Health believes Iceland’s 40-year-old abortion law is due for a review, and possibly a revision.

Vísir reports that, in a recent issue of Læknablaðið (The Doctor’s Paper), an article pointed out that Iceland’s abortion law – last codified in 1975 – still requires women to have two unrelated parties sign off in order for her to have permission to get an abortion. This, Minister of Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson believes, is cause for concern.

Telling reporters he has had his staff reviewing health-related legislation to look for obsolete details, Kristján said he has very decided opinions about abortion.

“My main emphasis in this area is that women have the power of choice over their own matters,” he said. “To my mind, the best person to make the decision [to have an abortion or not] is the woman in question, and she is the one who should have the agency in this matter.”

Iceland was amongst the first western European countries to legalise abortion, in 1935. Since then, the law has been update a number of times, but was last updated 40 years ago. As it stands now, Icelandic women need the permission of two unrelated individuals in order to receive permission to have an abortion.

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