The frequency of abortion and contraceptive counseling in the first 3 months of 1975 under the new Swedish abortion law is compared with previous trends in abortion and counseling. The number of abortions in the 1st quarter of 1975 indicates a yearly increase of 8% in the number of abortions performed with relation to 1974. The number of teen-age abortions in the 1st quarter of 1975 was approximately 25% of the total. 90% of the cases were performed by vacuum aspiration, and 85% were performed before the 13th week of pregnancy. Based on the figures for these 3 months, 83,500 government subsidized contraceptive counseling visits took place, compared with 500,000 for the entire year 1974. This rather modest figure for 1975 is a result of a new organization of the counseling system, with large increases in some geographic and decreases in others. Private physicians have been reducing services in this field as a result of the standard government compensation for contraceptive counseling. It is felt that the capacity for increased counseling will be realized during 1975.
Last month saw the end of the first year of operation of the Abortion Act in Britian, and statistics are now available for the first 10 months, from April 1968, to February 1969. In that time, legal, notified abortions totalled 28,849, of which 20,746 were on the grounds of risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the women. A further 1350 were carried out because of risk to the life of the woman, 1137 because of risk to the physical or mental health of existing children, 965 because of the risk of the woman bearing a physically or mentally handicapped child, and 52 as emergencies to save the life of the woman or prevent grace injury to her health. Another 4599 abortions were carried out for more than 1 of these reasons. An earlier set of statistics, covering the period up to December 1968, showed that 22,256 abortions legally carried out up to then, 13,609 were in National Health Service hospitals and 8601 in other approved hospitals. It is likely that the total number of legal abortions in Britain for the first full year of the Act will be about 34,000. In the years leading up to the introduction of the Abortion Act, the number of abortions carried out in Britain for reasons then legal had been growing steadily, and had reached 7600 in National Health Service hospitals in 1967. An unknown further number of legal abortions had been done in private nursing homes - these cannot be computed because they were not notifiable before the Abortion Act came into force. There are 4 legal abortions for every 100 live births in Britain; this is about 1/2 the figure for Denmark and one tenth that of Czechoslovakia.