FINLAND – Conscientious objection to abortion now on the table of coalition government talks

Image: Julia Ståhle
President, Swedish Youth of Finland

The Christian Democrats in Finland are pushing for the right of healthcare workers to refuse to carry out abortions amid five-week-long government talks on forming a government, Hufvudstadsbladet (HBL) reported on 1 June 2023.

The Christian Democrats, currently in government talks with the National Coalition Party, the Finns Party and the Swedish People’s Party, would like to see the right of refusal to be included in the programme, reported HBL, although the Christian Democrats refused to deny or confirm the news. But Päivi Räsänen, the party’s former chair, has long advocated for the issue.

The right to refuse abortions by medical staff “should be included in labour legislation. It is a fundamental right, and it is about freedom of religion, which the law must protect”, said Räsänen, as reported in the Hufvudstadsbladet article published on 1 June.

The topic may create yet another obstacle, just as there appeared to be some sort of common ground between the parties on climate and migration. Political analysts have described the government formation talks as the most secretive in living memory.

Giving healthcare workers the right to refuse to carry out an abortion is particularly difficult for the liberal Swedish People’s Party, who are also in the government talks. “If we start restricting it and make it a matter of conscience, I’m afraid that we’re moving towards restricting the right to abortion, like in Poland and some states in the US,” said Julia Ståhle, the president of Swedish Youth of Finland, the youth section of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland.

SOURCE:, by Pekka Vänttinen, 2 June 2023 ; + PHOTO of Julia Ståhle