Abortion in Iceland: Is Iceland going to amend its laws on abortion?

Serena Fernandes
Research in Brief

Iceland’s Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir has recently announced plans to submit a Bill to the Icelandic Parliament, which would result in several amendments to Iceland’s existing abortion laws. Abortion laws in Iceland have often been described as some of the most conservative in north Europe. This may be because at present under the law that regulates abortion in Iceland (Article 9, The Act on Counselling and Education Regarding Sex and Childbirth and on Abortion and Sterilization Procedures, enacted on 22nd May 1975) abortion is only permitted up until the end of the sixteenth week of pregnancy. If the draft bill were to be transposed into law, abortions would be permitted up until the end of the twenty-second week of pregnancy for any reason. Currently, under Article 9 of the aforementioned Act when pregnancy is past 16 weeks, the foetus may be legally aborted only if the mother’s life or health is seriously compromised or if the foetus is expected to be born deformed or with a serious genetic disease. However, at present, these proposed amendments have yet to be codified into law as abortion in Iceland is still permitted only up to the sixteenth week of pregnancy.