European women who do not have access to abortion in their home country could come to Iceland for the procedure free of charge, if a parliamentary resolution put forth by MP Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir is passed. The resolution would only apply to two countries: Poland and Malta, where abortion law is much stricter than elsewhere in Europe. A recent court ruling further tightened abortion law in Poland and has sparked ongoing protests across the country as well as in Iceland. Vísir reported first.
Applies to Two European Countries
“The resolution is due to the current situation in Poland and the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court, which is a blow to women’s rights in Europe,” Rósa Björk said. The parliamentary resolution was supported by 18 MPs from the Social-Democratic Alliance, the Reform Party, the Pirate Party, and the Left-Green Movement.
According to the resolution, women with a European health insurance card could terminate a pregnancy free of charge in Iceland. “There are only two countries in Europe that this parliamentary resolution would cover. They are Poland and Malta, where women’s rights to abortion are much less than in other countries,” Rósa explained. “Therefore this route would not entail a big expense.”
Time to Support Human Rights
Rósa Björk expressed her belief that Iceland should show Poles support due to the strong relationship between the two countries. Polish nationals are the largest group among immigrants to Iceland, numbering over 20,000 and representing nearly half of all immigrants in the country. According to the MP this is the right time to stand up for human rights, despite the pressure on Iceland’s healthcare system due to COVID-19. “Unfortunately, many governments have been using COVID to limit human rights.”
The independent MP hopes the proposal will be approved by parliament and that the Minister of Health will ensure that women in need can count on Iceland. “We can show in our actions that we stand for women’s rights and that we are resisting this awful development.”
Rósa Björk resigned from the Left-Green Movement in September after serving as an MP for the party since 2016 and as a substitute MP since 2013. She cited the government’s response to the deportation of an Egyptian family as a core issue that led her to feel her path had diverged from the party. At the time of her resignation from the party, she stated that she would continue to serve as an independent MP and fight for human rights and gender equality in particular.