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Vantaa to offer contraceptive freebies for under 20s

The effects of free contraceptives are already underway in an academic research focusing on the effects of such contraceptives in Finland.

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Image: Katja Halinen / Yle

From March onward the city of Vantaa will provide free contraceptives to those under the age of 20. The goal is to improve sexual health while decreasing abortions and sexually transmitted diseases.

Vantaa youth will be directed to Contraception and Family Planning Clinics where they will be offered hormonal contraceptives as well as condoms. Condoms are also distributed as part of school and student healthcare.

Youth can meet with professionals to discuss the best course of treatment. Following this they can go over options such as contraceptive pills, the contraceptive ring or patch, and long term contraceptives and condoms.

Once a treatment plan has been agreed on, the patient will be able to pick up their free prescription from any Vantaa Contraception and Family Planning Clinic, which are open during the week days.

Vantaa research based on contraceptives

The move is part of dissertation research underway in Vantaa with a focus on free contraceptives and their potential effects in Finland. The research group is led by professor Oskari Heikinheimo and includes Helsinki university researcher and Vantaa Myyrmäki’s health center doctor Frida Gyllenberg.

The group released an article this week on their research in the American Journal of Public Health.

”Through our research we noticed that in the case on young people aged 15-19 in Vantaa, the free contraceptives actually saved money. Meanwhile in the age group of 20-24 free contraceptives did not bring any additional costs” said Gyllenberg.

In Vantaa the free distribution of contraceptives was expanded in 2013 whereby all women in Vantaa were given their first long term contraceptive free of charge. Additionally, long term contraceptives were given free of charge for the following year in the case of a pregnancy termination as well as to clients for substance abuse care.

Between 2003 and 2013 on average 11.5 abortions out of one thousand occurred between women ages 15 to 49 in Vantaa. Following the expansion of free contraception distribution, abortions decreased. In 2015 the average rate of abortions per one thousand women was 8.9, resulting in a 22 percent decrease.

”Our research indicated that free distribution of contraceptives will likely improve the chances that all age groups in the population will begin to use long term contraceptives and this will link to a decrease in unplanned pregnancies” stated Gyllenberg.

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