Sign up for our newsletter ⟩
News |

Government parties differ on abortion law

Members of Finland’s new disparate right-left government have differing views on abortion. Women can currently seek a termination up until the twentieth week of pregnancy, but if the foetus displays signs of disability or sickness, abortion can take place four weeks later.

Pekka Haavisto puhumassa eduskunnassa.
Image: Yle

Now some want to make the limit the same for everyone. For example disability rights organisations believe the current practice to be discriminatory. Changing the abortion law was the number one goal for Christian Democrats during the protracted government formation negotiations. The party wanted reducing the number of abortions to be part of the government programme, and to explore whether tightening the law on abortion would be possible.

All members of the new government do not fully support that goal. The leader of the Green League’s parliamentary group Pekka Haavisto said on Tuesday that the issue could have been left out of the new government’s programme. Maria Guzenina-Richardson, the basic services minister responsible for abortion legislation, does not see legislative change as necessary.

Minister: Current law 'quite sufficient'

“In my opinion the current law is good, and quite sufficient,” said Guzenina-Richardson. “Tightening the legislation would make us one of the more conservative countries in Europe, and I don’t hope for that.”

Christian Democrat leader Päivi Räsänen believes that the current 24-week limit violates the rights of unborn foetuses, as babies born at 22 weeks can now be cared for in incubators. Räsänen would like to see the law changed to allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions on ethical grounds.

“It is option under abortion law in all other western countries and Sweden for healthcare professionals to refuse to carry out abortions because of their convictions,” said Räsänen.

A report on the possibility of changing the abortion law will be written after it was included in the government programme. Although Räsänen hopes that will lead to a change in the law, Guzenina-Richardson says that it will not necessarily follow.

Latest in: News


Our picks