The Sexual Information Clinic in Oslo was founded more than 20 years ago. The clinic is the largest family planning centre in Norway, treating 4,000-6,000 patients per year. In recent years the treatment of venereal diseases has become the major component of the daily work. The authors describe the different groups of patients who visit the clinic. The meanage of the patients is 21 years. The high number of legal abortions among younger women and the rising incidence of sexually transmitted diseases prove the continued existence of a need for family planning centres. The authors discuss the situation of family planning centres in Norway in general and stress the importance of their work. They argue that all venereal diseases should be treated free of charge.
This selective report notes recent events relating to pregnancy termination in the U.S., France, England, Italy, East and West Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Due to the Supreme Court decision in January 1973, abortion is now legal in the U.S. Although abortions is illegal in France, an estimated 400,000-1,000,000 clandestine abortions occur each year. Although abortions are legal in Britain, the ease with which they can be obtained varies regionally. As of March 1973, contraceptives are part of Britain's National Health Service. In Italy, a bill to legalize abortion has been introduced in Parliament, though there is little likelihood of its passing. In East Germany, abortion can be granted for medical or social reasons, while in West Germany, the governmental policies are more conservative, resulting in an abundance of illegal abortions performed by physicians. There is a trend toward easier abortion laws in Norway and Sweden. Little is happening in the Netherlands as far as liberalizing the abortion laws. Rather liberal grounds for pregnancy termination exist in China (though emphasis is on contraception), India, Russia, and Eastern Europe (with the exception of Romania). Abortion is frowned upon in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East resulting in a large number of illegal abortions. It is concluded that there is liberalized abortion in communist bloc countries, there is trend toward liberalizing abortion in a large group of western countries, and tradition and religion are responsible for conservative abortion laws in a third group of countries.
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.