Study objective: To analyze if immigrant girls request early pregnancy termination more frequently than ethnic Swedish girls and, if so, study possible explanations, including contraceptive practices and attitudes.
Design and participants: All women under 19 years of age who attended a large abortion clinic during one year were interviewed. Out of 126 adolescents, 36% were born outside Sweden. The immigrant girls (37 born abroad and 23 with at least one parent born abroad) were compared to 66 ethnic Swedish girls regarding contraceptive habits, reasons for abortion and social factors.
Results: The proportion of adolescents born abroad was larger than expected: 38 (29%) were born outside Sweden, compared to 18% in corresponding areas of Stockholm. The ethnic Swedish girls had fewer previous pregnancies than first and second generation immigrants and had more experience of contraceptive counselling. The most common reason for abortion in both groups was the wish to finish education. Ethnical Swedish girls claimed young age as reason for abortion more often than immigrants; economic reasons and reasons related to partner relationship were also common.
Conclusion: First generation immigrant girls are over-represented among adolescents who seek termination of pregnancy. This can be explained by the fact that the immigrant girls had less experience of contraceptive use and contraceptive counselling than ethnical Swedish girls.