Norway/Sweden: Aborting girls

Norway/Sweden: Aborting girls

In a recent case in Sweden a woman twice aborted her baby after finding out the fetus was a girl, reports Svenska Dagbladet.  The woman, who had previously given birth to several daughters, asked for an amniotic fluid check, saying she was worried and wanted to establish the sex of the fetus.  After finding out it was a girl, she aborted the pregnancy immediately.  She soon afterward got pregnant again, and again aborted the fetus once she discovered it was a girl.

The case caused strong reactions from doctors and nurses who want to know whether they're obligated to reveal the sex of the fetus.

A senior official in the industry says that there was no medical reason for the abortion, but that the nurse went ahead with the amniotic fluid check.  "They've experienced having been forced into a corner and contributing to an abortion on the grounds that the fetus had the wrong 'sex'," the official says.

Doctors and nurses are now demanding guidelines on how they should proceed with such cases.

In a previous case, a man was sentenced to a fine of 4,000 Swedish kroner for threatening to put a pistol to a doctor's head if she didn't tell him the fetus' sex, according to Svenska Dagbladet

According to Christian W. Loennecken of the Volvat Medical Center in Norway, such things don't happen in Norway.

"This is a problem that is absolutely not topical for us and which conflicts with all humanitarian, ethical and legal conduct," he told Nettavisen.

However, Swedish news site The Local reports that Norwegian women simply go to Sweden for such abortions.


These trips are a fact, according to a Swedish professor colleague.

"We know that it happens as people have told us," said director Sissel Rogne at the Biotechnology Advisory Board (Bioteknologinämnden) to Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

Rogne explains that in Norway it is forbidden to undergo an abortion on the grounds of gender.

Gynaecologist Lars Hamberger in Gothenburg confirmed to SvD that the abortion trips are a known fact. He expressed understanding for the women.

"If they have three, four girls and are from Turkey the demands on them to produce a boy are strong."

"In certain cases I can understand the problem."



Midwife Sara Kahsay says the practice is probably more common among cultures where it's especially important to have baby boys.  She says it's not uncommon for her to get calls from women who want to know the sex of their fetus very early on.

"There is no doubt that some them experience enormous pressure to have baby boys," she told VG.

Sources: SIDE2, TV2 (Norwegian), The Local (English)

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