The Helsinki City Council on Thursday voted in favour of a proposal to expand a free contraception programme for under 25-year-old residents after a lengthy debate.
The proposal will provide young people free access to intrauterine devices and birth control implants, as well as lengthen the eligibility period for free contraceptive pills and intravaginal rings from three to twelve months. Helsinki also pledged to increase the distribution of free condoms and make sexual health counselling more widely available.
The proposal was drafted by Reetta Vanhanen (Greens), who also urged the city to monitor the cost and health impacts of providing young people access to free contraception.
The City Council also considered three requests to revise the proposal.
Mika Ebeling (Christian Democrats) argued that the city should “stay within the boundaries of the law on all measures that lead to ending a human life”.
The Finns Party, in turn, proposed that no changes be made to the current contraceptive programme and that the city continue to offer contraceptives primarily to under 20-year-old residents and members of at-risk groups, such as those struggling with a substance abuse problem or finding it difficult to have control over their life.
Terhi Koulumies (NCP) criticised the proposal for the emphasis it places on sex in steady relationships.
Koulumies stated yesterday that the proposal should be re-drafted in a way that takes into the account the fact that sex is not exclusively a feature of steady relationships. The use of condoms, she added, should also be promoted more to prevent the spreading of sexually transmitted diseases.
“Placing an emphasis on hormonal contraceptive methods sends an absolutely wrong message to young people – that women are responsible for contraception in intimate relationships,” she said.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi