The Abortion Act is the law that establishes a woman’s right to perform an abortion.
The woman’s right to have an abortion
Abortion is regulated in the Abortion Act of 1974. As early as 1965, an abortion committee was established which drafted a proposal for an abortion law in “The right to abortion” (SOU 1971: 58). After a comprehensive referral round and several changes, this led to the 1974 Abortion Act, which with some changes is still valid. The Abortion Act was put into operation in 1975. The Swedish Abortion Act (SFS 1974: 595) and the Health Care Act for asylum seekers and others (SFS 2008: 344) mean free abortion, that is, the law allows the woman to decide on abortion for and with the 18th week of pregnancy.
After the 18th week, abortion may only take place after examination by the National Board of Health and Welfare. The National Board of Health and Welfare has issued regulations and general advice on how the law on abortion should be applied (SOSFS 2009: 15).
The abortion law stipulates
The abortion law establishes the rights and obligations that the woman has but also that the doctor and the hospital have in connection with the abortion procedure. Most countries in Europe give women the right to decide on abortion before the twelfth week of pregnancy, but the legislation varies greatly and in some European countries abortion is not even allowed to save women’s lives.
Obviously, the doctor and other staff have a duty of confidentiality as with all other medical services. If the woman is under the age of 18, the main rule is that parents or guardians should be informed, if there are no weighty reasons to oppose this. In this case, any other related adult should be informed. The woman makes the decision to undergo an abortion.
The woman need not state any reason for her choice.
The abortion law gives the woman the right
The abortion law gives the woman the right to contraceptive advice and curatorial contact in connection with the procedure. This is a right woman, but she can choose if she wants to receive such advice.
Abortion surgery is performed
Abortion surgery is performed at a hospital or clinic approved by the National Board of Health and Welfare and costs as much as other medical visits. It is common to visit the clinic once or twice depending on the abortion method chosen. This choice can usually be made already when making a telephone booking. Regardless of the abortion method, a visit to the abortion reception is made. The telephone booking provides information on:
- Clinic routines
- abortion methods
All women’s clinics in Sweden have an obligation to perform abortions without delay. The responsibility for this to work lies with the operations manager or the corresponding manager.
The Abortion Act also contains provisions on what happens if the woman wants to have an abortion after the end of the 18th week of pregnancy (v18 + 1). In connection with the visit to the abortion clinic, the woman can then apply to cancel the pregnancy. The application is sent to the National Board of Health and Welfare and contains a trustee’s opinion as well as a medical statement. Decisions on such abortions are made by the National Board of Health and Welfare’s legal council. The committee shall decide whether there are “special reasons” for granting permission for the abortion.
Specific reasons may include:
- Consideration of the woman’s health or her life situation.
- If there is a high risk of serious injury to the child.
- If the woman becomes pregnant as a minor or after sexual abuse.
Permits for abortion are not granted if the fetus can be assumed to be viable at the time of the abortion. Today, this means in practice that abortion of healthy fetuses is not granted after pregnancy week 21 + 6.