Finland's parliament approves reform to strict abortion laws

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By AP  with Euronews
Under strict laws, Finnish women currently need approval from two doctors before an abortion procedure.
Under strict laws, Finnish women currently need approval from two doctors before an abortion procedure.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File

Finland's parliament has approved reforms that will widen the country's strict laws on abortion.

Under the amended legislation, citizens will only need approval from one doctor before terminating a pregnancy.

Under Finland's current law -- which dates back to 1970 -- women needed approval from two doctors before having an abortion.

Finnish citizens may now also request a medical abortion up until the 12th week of pregnancy without needing to provide further reasons.

The new reforms were approved by 125 cross-party lawmakers in Finland’s 200-seat Eduskunta (parliament) on Wednesday, while 41 MPs voted against the bill.

“The reform of the Abortion Act is a much-needed update to the clearly outdated legislation,” lawmaker Saara-Sofia Siren from the conservative National Coalition Party told Finnish public broadcaster YLE.

The reform is about the fundamental right of women to decide about themselves, their bodies, and their lives, she added.

The amended law will likely take effect early next year. The vote in parliament came after a citizen's initiative in 2020 on the issue received more than 50,000 signatures.