By Dave Andrusko
I thought I’d heard everything but…
Jørgen Kristiansen, the deputy mayor of Kristiansand, Norway, is being hammered for (as a headline in The Daily Mail put it) “inflam[ing] Norway abortion debate by posting picture of fake 12-week foetus in palm of a hand.”
“Fake”? Kristiansen posted a photo of a fetal model of an unborn baby at 12 weeks. (Imagine what the outcry would have been had he posted a picture of the remains of an aborted 12-week-old baby.)
“This is what a 12-week-old foetus looks like,” Kristiansen wrote under the picture. “It gives me at least a basis for reflection when the country is standing in the middle of a discussion on doctor’s reservation rights,” according to The Local, a newspaper that discusses “Norway’s news in English.”
The context, according to The Daily Mail, is that the Norwegian government is “currently discussing plans to allow doctors to refuse to refer patients for an abortion if they are ethically opposed to the act. Their refusal may be based on either religious or other grounds.” The discussion over conscience protection “is part of a deal to try to win the support of the Christian Democrat party, as agreed by Norway’s two-party coalition last September.”
The political editor of Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper harshly criticized the photo.
“This is a doll and a dishonest way to debate this matter,” said Marie Simonsen. “It is shocking that a senior member of the Christian Democrats is posting anti-abortion propaganda which he must know is a lie.”
But, of course, Simonsen is not critiquing how accurately the fetal model portrays a baby at that stage. She is lambasting Kristiansen (described as “a Christian mayor”) for showing it at all.
Kristiansen refused to back off.
“The picture is from National Geographic and shows a child that is 5.5 centimetres long, with eyes, ears, fingers and everything else a child has when it is 12 weeks old,” he told The Local.