Before 12 weeks of pregnancy
In Finland, you can decide to have an abortion up to 12+0 weeks of pregnancy. In this case, you do not need permission to have an abortion, and you do not need to justify your decision.
After 12 weeks of pregnancy
After early pregnancy, you can have an abortion in a variety of situations.
At 12+1–20+0 weeks of pregnancy, an abortion can be performed with special permission from the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira). When applying, explain why an abortion was not performed at an earlier stage. The grounds for having an abortion during this period are laid down in Finnish law. You can have an abortion between 12 and 20 weeks of pregnancy in the following situations:
- having a child would be a considerable strain for you
- you or the other parent have an illness that makes it difficult to care for the child
- your pregnancy is a result of a sexual offence
- there is reason to assume that the foetus has a serious illness or disability
- you were younger than 17 or older than 40 when the pregnancy started
- you have already given birth to four children.
If the foetus has a serious illness or disability, you can have an abortion up to 24+0 weeks of pregnancy. For this, you need permission from the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira).
If your health is at risk due to the pregnancy, there is no time limit for an abortion. In this case, you need the permission of two doctors.
What should you do if you wish to have an abortion?
If you wish to terminate your pregnancy, contact your local healthcare services, either the health and social services centre or gynaecological outpatient clinic, as soon as possible. Different wellbeing services counties may use different names for the 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 appointment.
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.
How is an abortion performed?
An abortion is performed either with medication or by surgery.
In Finland, most abortions are performed with medication. You will be administered medication at the healthcare facility, and some drugs you can usually take at home. You should have some painkillers at hand.
Surgery is usually performed under anaesthesia, after which you will have to stay at the hospital for a few hours.
Two to four weeks after the abortion, you will have a follow-up examination at the health and social services centre.
If you need support
A nurse or doctor at your health and social services clinic can support you in making a decision about whether to have an abortion or not.
Visit InfoFinland’s Mental health web page for more information about places where you can get help in a challenging situation in life.