Demonstrators battle for ‘boobs to the people’

Chanting protesters demanded ”boobs to the people” at a rally in Oslo on Thursday as parliament met to debate the rights of breast cancer patients to speedy reconstructive surgery.

The women behind the demo chanted their slogan repeatedly and put their scars on display as they took to the streets as part of their campaign to get politicians to expedite a treatment that can often take years.

“These are our scars,” said radio presenter and campaigner Lise Askvik.

“What you can see here is not our shame; it’s our battle against cancer. We’re demanding nothing more than the completion of our treatment.”

The women said they hoped the stunt would help put pressure on the health minister and lawmakers to vote in favour of a proposal guaranteeing an offer of reconstructive surgery within six months of breast removal, with a maximum one-year waiting period for surgery.  

“We have to use the tools at our disposal. Things have been at a complete standstill for several years. It’s completely unacceptable,” Askvik told news agency NTB.

In a bid to get patients off waiting lists, opposition parties have proposed a solution whereby the public health system will be obliged to arrange treatment at private facilities or overseas if it cannot ensure timely treatment.

The governing red-green coalition, however, has indicated it will vote against the proposal, despite agreeing that waiting lists are unacceptably long. The governing parties instead want to await the outcome of a health ministry report due to be presented on March 23rd.

“It would be very unusual if I, as health minister, did not take the time to wait for the respondents. It’s my responsibility to ensure this is put in place across the country in an accountable manner,” said Health Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen (Labour Party).

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