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Journal Article

Teenage pregnancies and abortions in Finland in the 1990s

Kosunen, E. A.-L., Vikat, A., Gissler, M., Rimpelä, M. K.

Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 30:4, 300-305 (2002)

Keywords: Finland, abortion, adolescent fertility, adolescent pregnancy

Abstract

Aims. To analyse trends and regional variation in teenage pregnancy, abortion and fertility rates in Finland in the 1990s, by single-year age-group. Methods. Individual-level data from Finnish abortion and birth registers maintained by the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES) is used to calculate the rates and the abortion ratio. The abortion ratio is also calculated using conception as the time reference. Results. Teenage pregnancy rates and abortion rates reverted from decrease to increase in the mid-1990s. This was accompanied by an increase in the share of teenage pregnancies that ended in an abortion. The increase in abortions started first among older teenagers, and spread gradually to the younger girls. Regional variation in the rates remained the same throughout the study period. Conclusions. The observed trends reflect change toward less effective use of contraceptive methods among teenagers. There is also evidence for the earlier start of teenage sexual activity at the end of the 1990s. The possible explanations of less effective contraceptive use include cutbacks in health care and family planning services in the first half of the 1990s and the reduction of sex education in schools.

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