HELSINKI, January 5, 2011 ( – RU-486 abortions are allowing more and more women in Finland to abort their children at home, a practice that has become a nationwide trend, Finnish authorities said this week.

The Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare said that chemical abortions are favored because they save the state money in a country where abortions are always paid for at public expense. They reduce the need for treatment rooms and staff, spokesman Mika Gissler told the newspaper Karjalainen.

Chemical abortions at home account for as many as 80 percent of all early term abortions in one of the busiest hospitals in the country, the newspaper said.

Chemical abortion, usually called “medical abortion” in the industry, was allowed in Finland starting in 2000 and was immediately popular. By 2006, 58 percent of all abortion in the country was “medical.” In such an abortion two drugs are administered, mifepristone and misoprostol, with the first killing the child and the second inducing labor. The woman is typically sent home after the administration of the first drug and is left to deliver a dead fetus alone.

Such abortions are commonly carried out up to nine weeks pregnancy in Finland. From 9-12 weeks, chemical abortions can be carried out if the mother is admitted for monitoring to a hospital clinic.

Abortion was legalized in Finland in 1950 under the conditions that the mother’s life was in danger from a pregnancy. In 1970, the law was liberalized to create effective abortion on demand. The abortion rate climbed after legalization from 3.1 percent of all pregnancies to a peak of 29.1 percent in 1973 and tapering off again to 14.9 percent in 2008, according to national data. As one of the smaller Scandinavian countries, Finland’s fertility rate is typical of the region, with 1.73 children born per woman.

A 2005 study published in the European Journal of Public Health linked abortion with suicide among women in Finland. The study, conducted by lead researcher Mika Gissler, a politician and research professor at the Nordic School of Public Health, found that in Finland, post-abortive women are more likely to die from suicide compared to women who had recently given birth, and compared to the non-pregnant female population.

While most of the medical community accepts the RU-486 drug regimen for abortion, some governments are still asking questions about deaths related to its use, and other negative consequences. In April this year, several newly elected regional heads around Italy moved to block the sale of the abortion drug following questions about its hasty legalization in that country.

The governor of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, declared that no hospital in his region will administer the drug. “It banalizes the trauma of abortion, leaves women by themselves and makes young people less responsible,” he said.


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