LITHUANIA – Medical abortion legalised & FINLAND – Amendments to the Abortion Act approved


Medical abortion legalised

Medical abortion became legal in Lithuania as of January 2023. Women wishing to terminate a pregnancy medically will be able to do so until the ninth week of pregnancy after a consultation with an obstetrician-gynaecologist.

“First, the doctor must provide all the information related to the procedure. If the patient decides to terminate the pregnancy medically, the doctor prescribes abortion pills,” Inga Cechanovičienė, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, told LRT TV.

Many Lithuanian women knew about abortion pills already and have been obtaining pills from other sources in Europe.

SOURCE: LRT TV, by Goda Malinauskaitė, 2 January 2023 (an article with several errors of fact) ; PHOTO from proposal for a fund to help Polish woman have abortions, Baltic News, 5 November 2020




Amendments to the Abortion Act approved

The President of the Republic has approved amendments to Finland’s Abortion Act. In the 1970 Act, an opinion by two doctors was required in most cases for the termination of pregnancy, and grounds had to be presented. Under the new law, a pregnancy may be terminated solely based on the pregnant woman’s request until the end of the 12th week of pregnancy.

The legislative amendment will not change the regulations in cases where abortion takes place after the 12th week of pregnancy. At the request of the pregnant woman, pregnancy may also be ended after the 12th week of pregnancy if the continuation of the pregnancy or giving birth would endanger the life or health of the pregnant woman. In this case, two doctors must be of the opinion that the termination is necessary.

Abortion may also be carried out with the permission of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health until the 20th week of pregnancy on the grounds provided by law, including for social reasons, and until the 24th week of pregnancy if the fetus has been diagnosed as having a serious disease or physical abnormality.

The Act also lays down provisions on psychosocial support. Those requesting or considering abortion and their partner have the right to receive the psychosocial support they need. The need for support may arise in advance, when considering abortion and when weighing different options, and/or after abortion.

The Act will enter into force on 1 September 2023, allowing time to publish the regulations first.

One of the aims of these changes was to “further strengthen the right of a pregnant woman to self-determination”. [Yet the controlling role of doctors has been maintained after 12 weeks of pregnancy.]

SOURCE: Press Release, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland, 20 December 2022