Finland Sees 66% Drop in Teenage Abortions Due to Free Contraception and Sex Education


The Finnish public health institute THL announced on Monday that teenage abortions in Finland have dropped by 66% from 2000 to 2023. This significant decline is attributed to the provision of free contraception to adolescents and mandatory sex education in schools.

In 2022, Finland also passed a law liberalizing abortion amidst a backdrop of significant global debates on abortion rights, including restrictive court rulings in the United States affecting millions.

During the 1990s, the number of abortions among women under 20 rose in Finland. In response, at the start of the 2000s, the Nordic country made morning-after pills available without a prescription for those aged 15 and older and made sexual education compulsory in schools.

“We can assume that sexual education plays a significant role,” THL’s research professor Mika Gissler told Reuters, highlighting that increased access to contraception from a young age also contributed to the decline.

THL’s statistics revealed that the number of abortions among teenagers aged 19 or younger fell by 66%, from 2,144 in 2000 to 722 in 2023. For those under 18, the drop was even steeper at 78% during the same period.

“Since the latter half of the 2010s, the decline in the number of young people’s abortions has also been influenced by the introduction of free contraception in many welfare regions,” THL wrote in a report.

Over the past two decades, there was a much smaller decline in abortions among Finnish women of all ages. Interestingly, the number of abortions increased modestly by 2.9% from 2022 to 2023, according to THL’s statistics.

Under the 2022 liberalization law, Finland ceased requiring women to provide a reason for having an abortion as of September 2023, making it available upon request during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, THL stated it is too early to determine whether this legislative change will impact abortion numbers.

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