Mathias Barra
Akershus University Hospital
In recent years, multifetal pregnancy reduction (MFPR) has increasingly been the subject of debate in Norway, and the intensity reached a tentative maximum when Legislation Department delivered the interpretative statement § 2 - Interpretation of the Abortion Act in 2016 in response to the Ministry of Health (2014) requesting the Legislation Department to consider whether the Law on abortion allows for MFPR of healthy fetuses in multiple pregnancies. The Legislation Department concluded that current abortion laws allow MFPR within the framework the law otherwise stipulates. The debate has not subsided, and during autumn 2018, it was further intensified in connection with the Christian Democrat "crossroads" and signals from the Conservatives to consider removing §2.3c and to forbid MFPR. Many of the arguments in the MFPR debate appear seemingly similar to arguments pending in the general abortion debate, and an analysis of what sets MFPR apart from other abortions is wanting. The aim of this article is, therefore, to examine whether there is a moral distinction between abortion and MFPR of healthy fetuses. We will cover the typical arguments of the Norwegian debate, and highlight them with scholarly articles from the literature. The most important arguments against MFPR that we have identified we have dubbed the harm argument, slippery-slope argument, intent argument, grief argument, psychological long-term effects for the woman and sorting argument. We conclude that counter-arguments do not measure up in terms of detecting a morally relevant difference between MFPR of healthy fetuses and abortions. Our conclusion is therefore that—despite what several debaters seem to think—there is no morally relevant difference between the two. Therefore, when we allow abortion, we should also allow MFPR.
Keywords Abortion ethics  Multifetal pregnancy reduction  Abortion legislation
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.5324/eip.v13i1.3002
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