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'Sweden needs an abortion register'

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'Sweden needs an abortion register'
15:56 CEST+02:00
A report presented to the government on Monday has proposed that Sweden establish a national abortion registry and distribute free contraceptives to students over fifteen in a bid to lower the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

The author of the government report, Anders Milton, writes in an article in Dagens Nyheter, that “for whatever reasons, we in Sweden have more abortions than other countries in western Europe”.

Milton notes that a woman's medical journal reveals whether or not she has undergone an an abortion. He proposes compiling abortion data from journals in a central register that can only be accessed for research purposes.

"In Denmark and the Netherlands, as well as other countries, it is known that abortion figures for women born outside Western Europe are twice as high or many times as high as those for Danish or Dutch-born women," he writes.

The lack of a cohesive register in Sweden means it is impossible to say whether "abortions are more common in certain socioeconomic or cultural groups."

"We simply don't know if we are reaching everybody with public information campaigns or whether we need more targeted campaigns," writes Milton.

He also discusses a variety of reasons behind abortions in Sweden such as partner incompatibility, inconvenient timing and, in some cases, sexual violence.

Along with free contraceptives he proposes that “education in sex and relationships in the broadest sense should be written into the curriculum in a clearer way, and the teaching of these subjects should recur throughout the school year.”

But Lena Marions, senior physician at Karolinska University Hospital, is critical of the proposal for schools to distribute free condoms and contraceptive pills to all students over the age of fifteen.

“It should be each individual's, especially young people's, own responsibility to be safe when having sexual relations, and since contraceptives are readily available in youth centres (‘ungdomsmottagningar') further distribution of them to students will be insignificant,” she told The Local.

The government did not task the inquiry with reexamining the country's abortion legislation; instead the report is geared toward helping to educate young people and confer them with strong values and self-esteem.

Society should strive for young people to be able to say yes when they want a sexual relationship and no if they do not, says Milton.

“A no must always be respected regardless of when it is said,” he write, and recommends that all contraceptives be subsidized for young people and adults up to 25 years of age, with a cap of 200 kronor per year.

“We also suggest that ‘morning after' pills, which are available without cost at youth centers, should be subsidized if purchased at a pharmacy when the buyer is up to 25 years of age.”

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