In Finland, it is possible to terminate a pregnancy before 12 weeks of pregnancy, if:
- childbirth would pose a danger to your health
- you are under 17 or over 40 years old
- you have already given birth to four children
- you are unable to take care of the child due to an illness, or
- giving birth to or taking care of the child would be a considerable strain for you. The reason may be family relationships, financial situation, work situation, housing or plans for the future.
If there is a very compelling reason, an abortion may be performed after 12 weeks of pregnancy. This requires special permission issued by Valvira. Valvira’s permission is also required if the abortion is performed due to the serious illness or impairment of the foetus. Ask a doctor at your health centre (terveysasema) for more information.
If you are a minor and want an abortion, you do not need your parents’ permission for it. Nevertheless, it is often a good idea to talk about it with your parents. If you choose not to, the health care professionals are under the obligation of secrecy.
If you wish to terminate a pregnancy, contact the health centre of your own area as soon as possible and make a doctor’s appointment. You can also make an appointment with a private doctor, but when you make it, make sure that the doctor has a licence granted by Valvira for issuing a statement for the abortion. If you wish, you can take your partner along to the see the doctor. The doctor will write you a referral to the hospital where the abortion will be performed.
At the hospital, a nurse and doctor will discuss the matter with you. Together you will decide on the way that the pregnancy will be terminated. This is affected by the length of the pregnancy and your own opinion.
Abortion is performed either with medication or by surgery (kaavinta). Surgery is usually performed under anaesthesia, after which you will have to stay at the hospital for a few hours.
If the abortion is performed with medication, the drugs are dosed every 1-3 days via the vagina, causing the womb to contract and shed its lining together with the foetus. Be prepared to take some painkillers when the womb begins to contract. Sometimes, in addition to drugs, surgery is also required.
Two to four weeks after the abortion, you will have a follow-up examination at the health centre.
When making a decision about abortion, you will be supported, for example, by the health centre’s nurse or doctor. For more information about places where you can get help in a challenging situation in life, go to the InfoFinland web page Mental health.