Reform of Abortion Act improves patient’s rightsKeywords:
The reform of the Abortion Act next year will speed up the patient’s access to termination of pregnancy by approximately one week.
The reform of Finland’s Abortion Act is due to enter into force early next year. With the change, a medical opinion will no longer be required from two physicians for a termination of pregnancy. In addition, the request of the pregnant woman will be sufficient up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
Until now, terminations have been carried out in hospital. The forthcoming Act enables a medical termination of pregnancy also in other health care units with sufficient capacities for it. Surgical terminations of pregnancy will continue to the performed in hospitals approved by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira).
In the HUS area, a person wishing to have a termination can after the legislative amendment contact the Gynecological Outpatient Clinic directly without a prior doctor’s appointment. Currently, the old Act is still complied with.
The current Abortion Act is 50 years old. Oskari Heikinheimo, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, estimates that the legislative amendment will speed up access to abortion by on average one week.
“The amendment is a welcome improvement to the patient's right to self-determination.”
In 2021, a total of 7,600 terminations of pregnancy were performed in Finland. Approximately 2,000 of them were carried out at HUS’s Gynecological Outpatient Clinic in Ruoholahti. Until now, the patient has had to see a doctor twice for a termination, and with the legislative amendment, the other appointment will no longer be required.
There has been a clear decline in the number of terminations of pregnancy over the past ten years. In 2021, the number of terminations was 8.3% lower than in 2020. Especially terminations performed on persons under 20 years of age have seen a significant decline in the past few years. (THL)
According to Heikinheimo, the new Act may further reduce the number of terminations, especially if the provision of services related to contraception and psychosocial support improves.
Sources: THL and Health Village