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Finland´s abortion rate lowest in Norden

27 Mar 2019, 03:06 ( 3 Months ago)

DF Report
File Photo Finavia.

Of the Nordic countries, Finland had the lowest and Sweden the highest abortion rate, said the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in a press release.

There were 8.2 induced abortions per thousand women aged 15–49 years in Finland, while the corresponding figure for Sweden was 16.9.

Some 74 000 induced abortions were performed in 2017 in the Nordic countries, that is, 12.6 abortions per thousand women of childbearing age (15–49 years).

The number of induced abortions among teenagers is declining in the Nordic countries

In the 2000s abortions among the under-20s have decreased in all Nordic countries. In 2017, abortion rates among teenagers were the lowest in Norway and Finland.

“One, straightforward reason for the differences between the Nordic countries cannot be found”, said special planning officer Anna Heino from THL.

”These are partly due to differences in the legislation but cultural aspects, attitudes to induced abortions, sexual education and contraceptive use and e.g. the education and practices of health care professionals all play a major role,” she said.

Compared to rest of Europe, the abortion rate is relatively low in the Nordic countries. In Western Europe the abortion rate is lower than in Finland in e.g. Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

The abortion rate is the highest in the countries of the former Soviet Union and the lowest in Ireland, Malta and Poland. In these countries abortion is in practice illegal or access in very restricted.

“A new, more liberal legislation on induced abortion was approved in Ireland in December 2018, which surely will affect the Irish situation in the near future”, Heino added.

There are significant differences in the legislation on induced abortions between European countries, which affect the number of registered abortions.

However, a liberal legislation does not automatically mean a higher abortion rate as many cultural and political factors influence the numbers of induced abortions.

“In Western Europe, the abortion rate is lower than in Finland in countries where the legislation is more liberal than in Finland, i.e. it allows an induced abortion on woman’s own request”, Heino said.