Swedish officials baffled that abortion rate rises despite access to morning-after pill
STOCKHOLM, March 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Swedish government officials are baffled at statistics that show the abortion rate has actually increased since the introduction of the abortifacient morning after pill.
The Local, an English language Swedish newspaper, quotes Catharina Zätterström, deputy chairwoman at the Swedish Association of Midwives, saying, “Our hope was that the pill would bring down the abortion rates.”
The abortion rate has increased from 18.4 per 1,000 women in 1997 to 20.9. The most recently available statistics show that 37,693 abortions were conducted in Sweden in 2011. Zätterström said that the sales of the morning after pill have doubled between 2012 and 2001 when it was introduced.
“It’s very strange and saddening,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with the fact that the sales have increased, but it would be much better if we could find a functioning contraception.”
The frustration of public health officials over the failure of contraception to reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies and abortion is well documented in all countries where abortion has been legalised. However, many pro-life advocates have long pointed the connection between increased availability of artificial contraception and increases of sexual activity, and then abortion, particularly among young people.
Most countries that publish detailed statistics on abortion have found that abortion is most often employed as a last resort when contraception fails. Recently, public health officials in Britain have been seeing a rise in the use of abortion as a contraceptive method itself.
Brian Clowes, a researcher with Human Life International, has written about how the “contraceptive mentality” actually leads to abortion. He says that it starts with the assumption by the people using contraception that there will be no “consequences” to their act, that there will be no child. When the contraception fails and a child is brought into the world, “the couple easily feels automatically entitled to another unnatural and purely technological solution - abortion.
“The whole human dynamic of life-giving love, in a context of the covenant of marriage, becomes degraded, mechanized, de-personalized, and trivialized such that when there is an ‘unplanned’ pregnancy, the couple feels failed by their artificial ‘system,’ views the baby not as a gift from God, but as an impersonal intruder, and so they seek another mechanical, degrading ‘solution’ for this ‘system failure,’" he says.
Sweden was one of the first countries of the western world to legalise abortion, allowing it under certain circumstances since 1938. Since the 1974 law, abortion has been legal on demand within the first 18 weeks of pregnancy. Later abortions are allowed with the approval of a Board of Health and Welfare “to save the life or physical health of the mother”.
Abortion is technically further restricted after “viability,” usually understood to be 22 weeks, but this restriction is commonly waived if the child is believed to be unhealthy.
The Pew Forum on Religion in Public life says simply, “To date, abortion has not been a politically controversial issue in Sweden.” The government admits to about 35,000 to 40,000 abortions annually.
Read the complete essay, “The ‘Contraceptive Mentality’ and Its Consequences” by Brian Clowes.