Abortion Laws in Denmark
|Law, Regulations||Law No. 350, 1973, as amended through 1995.|
|Indications||Life, physical or mental health, rape, incest, fetal impairment, socio-economic reasons.|
|Time limit||Not specified, anytime implied.|
|Location of Services||District hospital, a hospital that is a member of the Copenhagen Hospital Association, or a clinic [ambulatorium] attached to the hospital.|
Law No. 350 of 13 June 1973 on the interruption of pregnancy, as amended through Law No. 389 of 14 June 1995.
Chapter 1. Requirements
1. A woman domiciled in Denmark shall be entitled to undergo an abortion provided that the procedure can be performed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and that, after application of the provisions of Section 8, the woman persists in her desire to have her pregnancy terminated.
2. A woman may undergo an abortion without special authorization, even after the 12th week of pregnancy has elapsed, if the procedure is necessary to avert a risk to her life or of serious deterioration of her physician or mental health, and this risk is based solely or principally on circumstances of a medical character.
3. (1) After the 12th week of pregnancy has elapsed, a woman domiciled in Denmark may be granted authorization for an abortion in the following cases:
1. pregnancy, childbirth, or care of the child entail a risk of deterioration of the woman’s health on account of an existing or potential physician or mental illness or infirmity or as a consequence of other aspects of the conditions under which she is living;
2. the woman has become pregnant under the circumstances referred to in Section 210 or Sections 216-224 of the Civil Criminal
3. there is a danger that, on account of a hereditary condition or of an injury or disease during embryonic or fetal life, the child will be affected by a serious physician or mental disorder;
4. the woman is incapable of giving proper care to a child, on account of a physical or mental disorder or feeble-mindedness;
5. on account of her youth or immaturity, the woman is for the time being incapable of giving proper care to a child;
6. it can be assumed that pregnancy, childbirth, or care of a child constitute a serious burden to the woman, which cannot otherwise be averted, and it therefore appears essential for the pregnancy to be terminated, taking into account the interests of the woman, the management of her household, or the care of her other children. In reaching the decision, consideration shall be paid to the woman’s age, the effort involved in her occupation, and her personal circumstances in other respects, as well as the circumstances of the family from the point of view of housing, income and health.
(2) Authorization for abortion may be granted only if the grounds on which the application is based are sufficiently important to justify subjecting the woman to the increased risk to her health which the procedure entails.
Chapter 2. The committee and appeal board
4. (1) The Minister of Justice shall establish one or more committees within each district as well as in the communities of Copenhagen and
Frederiksberg, to determine the matters sets forth under Section 3, sub-section 2 of Section 5, sub-sections 2 and 3 of section 6, and Section 7. Each committee shall be composed of a staff worker of the district or community with legal or social professional training and two physicians. One of the physicians shall be a specialist in gynaecology or surgery, preferably on the staff of a local hospital, while the other shall be a specialist in psychiatry or have a special knowledge of social medicine.
(2) The decision of a committee may be submitted to a board of appeal, which shall also exercise control over the activities of committees. The board of appeal, which shall be established by the Minister of Justice, shall be composed of a chairman and a number of other members. The chairmen shall be a graduate in law and must be acquainted with the work of maternity aid institutions. At least three members, including the chairman or a member who fulfils the requirements for designation as the chairman of a board of appeal, shall be present whenever a complaint is being heard. One of the two other members shall be a specialist in gynaecology or surgery, while the other shall be a specialist in psychiatry or have a special knowledge of social medicine.
(3) Authorization may be granted only where the committee or board of appeal is unanimously in favour.
(4) Members of committees and boards of appeal, as well as alternate members, shall be appointed by the Minister of Justice for periods not exceeding four years at a time.
(5) The rules of procedure for committees and boards of appeal shall be laid down by the Minister of Justice.
Chapter 3. Procedures
(1) The application for an abortion shall be submitted by the woman herself.
(2) If the woman, on account of a mental disease, mental deficiency, seriously weakened health condition, or other reason, is not in a position to understand the significance of the procedure, the commission may authorize an abortion on the basis of an application submitted by a guardian specially designated for the purpose, where this is justified by the circumstances. The provisions of
Section 50 of the Guardianship Law govern the appointment of this guardian. The decision of the committee may be submitted to the board of appeal by the guardian.
6. (1) If the woman is under 18 years of age and unmarried, the person exercising parental authority or, as the case may be, the guardian, must give his consent to the application.
(2) Where this is justified by the circumstances, the committee may refrain from requiring the consent referred to in subsection 1. The decision of the committee may be submitted to the board of appeal by the woman.
(3) Where this is justified by the circumstances, the committee may authorize an abortion even if the consent referred to in sub-section 1 has been refused. The decision of the committee may be submitted to the board of appeal by the woman or the person exercising parental authority.
7. The committee may authorize abortion under Sections 1 or 3 even where the woman is not domiciled in Denmark, provided that she has special ties to the country.
8. (1) The application for an abortion shall be presented to a physician or to the district or community in Copenhagen or Frederiksberg.
(2) If the application is presented to a physician, the latter shall draw the woman’s attention to the fact that, by consulting a the district or community, she may obtain information on the available possibilities for assistance in the event that the pregnancy is continued to term and for assistance after the birth of the child. If the application is presented to the district or community, the woman shall on request receive the information referred to in the first sentence of this sub-section.
(3) The woman must be informed by the physician of the nature of the procedure and its direct consequences as well as the risks which it may involve. The same information shall be given to the person required to submit the application under sub-section 2 of Section 5 or to grant consent under sub-section 1 of Section 6.
9. If it appears that the conditions prescribed in Sections 1 or 2 are satisfied, the physician or the district or community shall refer the woman to a hospital, account being taken of the provisions of Section 10. Where these conditions are not satisfied, the physician shall immediately forward the application, accompanied by his opinion, to the district council or community administration.
10. (1) The abortion may only be performed by a physician in a district hospital, a hospital that is a member of the Copenhagen Hospital Association, or a clinic [ambulatorium] attached to the hospital.
2) Physicians, nurses, midwives, and health care workers shall, if they so request, be absolved from carrying out or participating in termination of pregnancy if it is contrary to their ethical or religious views. The foregoing shall also apply to persons undergoing training for one of these professions”.
11. The costs on the occasion of an abortion shall be paid for according to the provisions on hospital care in force.
12. The Minister of Justice shall issue regulations governing applications for abortions and the examination of matters arising therefrom.
Chapter 4. Contraception, etc.
Chapter 5. Penal provisions
14. (1) A physician who performs an abortion without the conditions prescribed in Sections 1 or 2 being satisfied and without an authorization having been granted under Section 3 shall be liable, without prejudice to any more severe penalty imposed under the Civil Criminal code, to up to two years’ deprivation of liberty [haefte] or imprisonment [faengsel] or, if there are mitigating circumstances, to a fine.
(2) A physician who performs an abortion without the conditions prescribed in Sections 5 and 6 and sub-section 3 of Section 8 being satisfied shall be liable to a fine, without prejudice to any more severe penalty imposed under the Civil Criminal Code.
(3) A physician who performs an abortion in violation of sub-section 1 of Section 10 shall be liable to a fine.
(4) Any person who, not being a physician, performs an abortion shall be liable to up to four years’ imprisonment, without prejudice to any more severe penalty imposed under the Civil Criminal code.
(5) The provisions of sub-sections 1 and 4 shall be applicable, mutatis mutandis, to any person who provides assistance in the activity in question.
(6) Infringements of Section 13 or of the conditions prescribed for approval in sub-section 1 of Section 13 shall be punishable by a fine.
15. Any person who sells, other than to a hospital,, objects or substances presumably intended for use as abortifacients, or who otherwise makes such products available, against payment, shall be liable to a fine, deprivation of liberty, or, if there are particularly aggravating circumstances, up to four years’ imprisonment.
16. Infringements which are due to an oversight shall not be punishable.
Chapter 6. Entry into force, etc.
17. (1) This Law shall enter into force on 1 October 1973.
(2) Law No. 120 of 24 March
1970 on the interruption of pregnancy etc. is repealed.
18. [Non-applicability of this Law to the Faeroe
Islands and Greenland]
ally or in its own writing inform the legal