Many poor (“resource-weak”), pregnant women experience being pressured into having an abortion by their social worker at the borough council.
This is what a group of lawyers who specialise in helping vulnerable citizens claim. But it is not legal for social workers to interfere in questions of life and death, believes an expert in this area.
Have an abortion – if you want to keep your daughter
21 year old Simone Jørgensen is one of the women who has experienced the situation. It happened when she became pregnant in September last year.
“My social worker said if I wanted to keep the daughter I already had, I needed to have an abortion,” said Simone Jørgensen.
More lawyers confirmed in a survey conducted by DR News that social workers encourage young women like Simone Jørgensen to have a termination.
“It happens every other month, that I am rung up with that situation,” said lawyer Lars Buurgaard Sørensen from Brøndeslew and called the practice in borough councils “grotesque”.
Lawyer Rasmus Hedegaard from Aarhus agreed with the critics. He is rung up every month with the problem.
“It is outrageous that one can almost threaten that ‘if you don’t have an abortion, then I as a social worker am going to get the authorities to forcibly remove your child’. It doesn’t fit with their role. You cannot sit with a sword in one hand and at the same time want to be a secure base of guidance for citizens,” said Rasmus Hedegaard.
Lecturer in social rights at Aalborg University Trine Schultz said that the law gives social workers the right to guide and inform about which scenarios arise if a family increases in size.
“But that’s a long way away from going in and giving specific advice about abortion. That responsibility lies in a completely different area. It is the health authorities who can advise about things like that,” she said.
It’s okay to talk about abortion
Peter Brügge, the social services leader in Simone Jørgensen’s previous borough council in Randers was presented with Simone Jørgensen’s case and the lawyers’ criticism. He does not believe that the borough council has made a mistake.
“I think, that it is okay to talk about abortion. Abortion is a possibility. This does not mean to say that we should pressure someone or over-encourage them but they should have an understanding of the consequences they might get.”