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 and social service clinic (sosiaali- ja terveyskeskus) 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 and social services centre of your own area as soon as possible and make a doctor’s appointment. Different wellbeing services counties may use different names for health and social services centre, such as terveysasema, terveyskeskus or hyvinvointiasema. You can also make an appointment with a private doctor. When you make an appointment, tell them that you are considering an abortion.
If you wish, you can take your partner along to the doctor’s appointment. The doctor will give you a referral to a 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. 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 and social services centre.
A nurse or doctor at your health and social services clinic can support you in making a decision about abortion. For more information about places where you can get help in a challenging situation in life, go to the InfoFinland web page Mental health.