Finland votes for liberalisation abortion law


Northern Europe


Finnish Parliament in session. Photo EPA, Kimmo Brandt

The Finnish Parliament supports a law reform that will make it easier for women to get an abortion. On Wednesday, MPs passed a motion that abolishes the requirement of two expert opinions that is part of the current abortion legislation.

The proposal was passed by 125 votes in favour; 41 MPs were against, according to Yle.

The amendment of the abortion law that currently dates from the 1970s will change the requirement of approval by two physicians to terminate a pregnancy. Instead, only one doctor should give consent for a woman to be able to end her pregnancy.

In addition, women no longer have to provide reasons for their abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Their request is enough to obtain the procedure.

Fundamental human right

Abortion has been a divisive element in the Finnish Parliament. Some politicians argued that their view on the topic was a matter of conscience instead of party politics. Of the 41 MPs that voted against the abortion liberalisation, four belonged to the Centre Party, which belongs to the current Finnish coalition.

The five Christian Democratic MPs voted unanimously against the abortion proposal. That is reported by the website of the party.

Party leader Päivi Räsänen stressed that the change in law weakens the position of pregnant women, doctors and unborn children. She said to be extremely sad about the decision and "how little support was found for the protection of the lives of the smallest people."

Räsänen, furthermore, asserted that abortion is neither a fundamental human right nor belongs to reproductive health care. "International human rights treaties stipulate the right to live, not the right to end life", she said. According to the Christian Democratic politician, the essential question to answer is when life begins. "No one answered the question of what the magical limit of 12 weeks of pregnancy is and why a woman has the right to self-determination before that and not after. Nothing happens in a child's life at the 12-week mark except for continuous development and growth, just like before and after."


Räsänen's Christian Democratic colleague, Sari Tanus, shares her feelings of disappointment over the decision of the Parliament. She voted against the motion because she is concerned about the health and well-being of women who hastily choose abortion or do so under pressure.

“It feels wild that in the 2020s you can end a life and you don't even have to give reasons for it”, she said. “Things can be handled better than at the expense of a small child's life, if only there were willpower.”



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