The morning-after pill was launched in Sweden 12 years ago with the aim of reducing unwanted pregnancies.
“Our hope was that the pill would bring down the abortion rates,” Catharina Zätterström, deputy chairwoman at the Swedish Association of Midwives (Barnmorskeförbundet) told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).
Despite the availability of the emergency pill, abortion rates have increased from 18.4 per 1,000 women in 1997, to 20.9 last year.
The sale of the morning after pill has meanwhile soared, with more than twice as many sold in Sweden last year than in 2001 when the product was launched.
Zätterström claimed that hopes were high at the launch of the pill.
“We really thought it would have an influence, but it hasn’t worked out that way. It’s very strange and saddening. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that the sales have increased, but it would be much better if we could find a functioning contraception,” she said.
Experts have blamed the unwanted pregnancies on Swedish contraception habits.
“It’s mostly because people don’t bother to use contraception,” Ian Milsom, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Gothenburg University, told DN.
“Abortion statistics for teenagers look good. The problem area is the 20-24-year-old group, that’s where the trend looks gloomiest.”
He claimed the Sweden stood out worldwide when it came to abortion figures.
“Abortion statistics are high in Sweden compared with many other countries. In Finland, for example, we have clearly better figures when it comes to abortion,” said Milsom.