The number of abortions among 15-19-year-olds in Iceland has decreased by half since 2000. According to new figures released by the Directorate of Health earlier this month, a total of 153 women in this age category were carried out last year, down from 257 in 2000.
Social worker at Landspítali National University Hospital, Helga Sól Ólafsdóttir, told visir.is that it would be better if the total number of abortions could be reduced further but emphasized that abortion must always been an option. The total number of pregnancies in this group has also been down, Helga said.
According to Helga, education is an important factor. In elementary school, discussions are had with parents and teenagers but in high school, Ástráður, a group of medical students who focus on preventative measures for sexually transmitted diseases and untimely pregnancies, has had a strong presence. “Kids find it easier to talk with people their own age,” Helga explained.
The morning-after pill has been available in Iceland since 1998 and without prescription since 2006 but Helga says it is too expensive. “Contraceptives should be free for everyone under 20. Sometimes we have spoken about under 18 but that is the absolute minimum,” she commented.
Helga also said that the attitude towards young, uneducated mothers has also changed. “That can mean that you fall into poverty. People want the best for their children and are prepared to educate themselves and settle down.”
The decrease in alcohol consumption has also had an impact, Helga says.