Induced abortion in the Nordic countries: Special emphasis on young women

Lisbeth B. Knudsen*, Mika Gissler, Soley S. Bender, Clas Hedberg, Ulla Ollendorff, Kajsa Sundström, Kristina Totlandsdal, Sigridur Vilhjalmsdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Background. To analyze the trends in legally induced abortions among women younger than 30 years in the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, since the liberalized abortion laws came into force. Methods. Data stem from national registrations of vital events. Some have been published in the national vital statistics while others have been retrieved for this study. General and age-specific abortion rates are used to analyze the trends. Further, an index has been calculated by dividing the age-specific abortion rates by the Nordic average. Results. The analysis reveals an overall reduction in the general abortion rates in the Nordic countries, apart from Iceland. The rates have been highest in Denmark and Sweden and lowest in Finland since the early 1980s. In the mid-1980s, the abortion rates increased among 15-19-year-old women in Sweden and among 20-24-year-old women in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, followed by a reduction. In Iceland the very low age-specific abortion rates for all age groups under 30 years at the beginning of the study period increased and Iceland had the highest rate for 15-19-year-old women in the late-1990s. Conclusions. The relatively low abortion rates in Finland demonstrate effective preventive efforts, although the recent increase challenges further studies on the relationship between abortion rates and counseling activities. The rise in abortion rates in Iceland indicate a need for improved sex education, contraceptive services and availability of contraceptive methods for young people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-268
Number of pages12
JournalActa Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003

Other keywords

  • Family planning
  • Induced abortions
  • Nordic countries


Dive into the research topics of 'Induced abortion in the Nordic countries: Special emphasis on young women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this