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Girls Becoming More Complacent About Abortion

Paediatricians are concerned with the frequency with which girls are choosing abortion, and the growing attitude that this is a form of contraception instead of a last resort.

Statistics for southern Karelia, which are also typical for the rest of Finland, show that around one percent of girls under 20 years of age had an abortion last year. This was not the first time for many of them.

"Some patients come repeatedly for abortions, and this may by a symptom of indifference," says Antti Valpa, chief physician of gynaecology in the hospital district of Southern Karelia.

In addition, one in seven girls refuses the psychological counselling that is offered to all women seeking abortions. Health care professionals fear that burying the experience can have serious psychological consequences.

"Kids don't understand what a serious thing an abortion is, both for a woman's body and her emotions," says Riitta Aalto, a youth psychiatrist in southern Karelia. "They think, 'the procedure is over, everything's fine, life goes on.'"

Unwanted pregnancies can happen to even careful girls who are sexually active, but Aalto says that especially in cases of repeat abortions, other risk factors are also an issue.

"We typically see unwanted pregnancies in girls who are depressed, distressed, or impulsive. Drug and alcohol abuse is also a factor," she adds.


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