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Recent figures from the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) have revealed that Finland has the lowest rate of induced abortions among Nordic countries. 

It also has the strictest abortion laws, being the only Nordic country where women need to acquire the signature of at least one doctor (in some cases two) to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. 

If the pregnancy has proceeded past 13 weeks, special permission from the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) must be obtained.

In 2019, Finland reported 7.7 induced abortions per every thousand women (aged 15–49). The corresponding figure in Sweden, which has the highest number of abortions among Nordic countries, was 16.4 per every thousand women.  

As of 2019, Finland had 8,700 induced abortions per year. It also accounted for the highest proportion of drug-induced abortions (97.7 per cent) among Nordic countries. Drug-induced (pharmaceutical) abortions were first introduced in the country in 2000.   

According to Anna Heino, special planning officer at THL, the difference in abortion rates between countries can be attributed to various factors, including legislation and cultural differences.   

Finland’s current legislation regarding termination, which first came into force in 1970, has been accused of being outdated. Last year, a citizen’s initiative seeking to reform Finland’s abortion laws received enough signatures to be sent to the parliament for consideration. 

Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times