Finland's legislation on forced sterilisation

Legislation about (forced) sterilisations

In Finland, the Act on Sterilisation (283/1970) regulates the sterilisation procedure.

Under the Act, sterilisation may be performed at the request of the person concerned for health reasons related to the pregnancy or the descendant, and for transgender persons.

Under section 2 of the same Act, forced sterilisation is allowed concerning people “unable to understand the meaning of sterilisation” due to their illness. In such cases, the request for sterilisation based on the aforementioned reasons may be requested through a petition by their legal representative. Consent of the person concerned is not sought.  

Forced sterilisation of a woman is criminalised under the Finnish Criminal Code as an assault crime and/or coercion.

In 2014, CEDAW Committee recommended that the State party repeals the legal provisions allowing for the sterilisation of women with mental disabilities with limited legal capacity or incapacitated without their consent. Unfortunately, the legal provision has not been repealed so far.

Data related to the matter

In 2020, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare published statistics on sterilisation. Data are disaggregated by area, sex, and age, but do not include disability.