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New Bill Allows 18 and Older to Undergo Elective Sterilisation

It is now legal for Icelanders aged 18 and older to choose to undergo elective surgical sterilisation, RÚV reports. Previously, the age of consent for surgical sterilisation was 25. The bill also ensures that elective sterilisation procedures will be free of charge. These changes were part of a bill amending current sterilisation requirements was submitted by the Minister of Health. It was approved by parliament on Thursday.

The bill also allows for individuals under the age of 18 to undergo sterilisation if the patient’s continued fertility will have serious negative consequences on them.

The bill was originally submitted as part of a broader legislation revision related to counselling and education on sex, childbearing, and pregnancy. It was decided, however, to address elective sterilisation on its own.

The sterilisation bill’s stated aim is to ensure individuals’ autonomy and agency in matters of their reproductive health. Per its terms, individuals requesting to undergo sterilisation should be educated in advance about the procedure, its possible risks, and its consequences.

The bill passes amidst a growing conversation around contraception and reproductive health, particularly for men in Iceland. RÚV reported on Thursday that a recent survey showed that just over half of Icelandic men, particularly young men living in the capital area, say they’d be willing to take a contraceptive pill if it were made available to them. And in recent years, vasectomies have been on the rise in Iceland, whereas the number of women electing to undergo sterilisation procedures has gone down.

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