20-Finland

In Finland abortion was legalised in 1950, and the law was reformed in 1970 and further amended in 1985.

The Act on Induced Abortion 239/1970 as well as the Degree on Induced Abortion 359/1970 and the Act on Sterilisation 427/1985 requires doctor's approval for carrying out the action if the abortion is within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

However in practice the law grants an abortion to all who wish to have one.

The law allows abortion to be performed at woman's request for various medical and social reasons. If woman is under 17 or over 40 years old or she has given birth to 4 children there need to be two doctors approval. A pregnancy may be interrupted up until the 20th week of pregnancy, but only for medical reasons and in conformity with the provisions of the abortion act.

Today, abortion is carried out as a public health care service equally accessible to all those who want it.

Finland is recognized as a useful laboratory for abortion researchers, because of the detailed records maintained by the government health authorities.

For example, in 1994, STAKES, the Statistical Analysis Unit of Finland's National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health, studied the death certificate records of 9,192 women of reproductive age (15-49), who died between 1987 and 1994.

They identified a strong association between abortion and later suicide.