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Doctor and Patient

About abortion

What is an abortion?
An abortion, also known as a termination of pregnancy, is a procedure to end a pregnancy early by either taking medication or undergoing a surgical procedure. The option chosen depends on the duration of the pregnancy. Here you will find a summary.


The reasons why someone ends a pregnancy vary considerably and are highly personal. For some the timing in life isn't right, maybe because their relationship or financial situation is unstable, in some cases the health status of the foetus or the woman necessitate a termination, and some may have become pregnant through forced sex. It is important to know that no one puts themselves in the situation of having an unwanted pregnancy by choice, and so it takes great courage to make the right decision for oneself at a time like this. Avoid judging others for their decision.

Pharmacy Sign

NO ABORTION The morning-after pill

The morning-after pill is an emergency contraceptive that can be obtained from any pharmacy. It is used after unprotected sex, e.g., if the condom broke or the pill was forgotten. Depending on the brand, you must take it either within 3 or 5 days after intercourse to prevent pregnancy. The morning-after pill works best within the first 24 hours. Since it is taken before fertilization occurs, it is not classified as an abortion.

Nursery Room

Termination after 12 weeks

An abortion after the 12th week of pregnancy is only possible in exceptional cases for legal or life-threatening reasons. This means when the health of the mother is seriously endangered or when the chances of the embryo surviving are very low or non-existent. A late abortion requires a doctor's approval.

Birth Control Pills

Abortion pills

This procedure involves ending the pregnancy by medication in the presence of a doctor. This method is usually possible up to the 7th week of pregnancy. There are two different medicines used for this.

The first pill blocks the pregnancy hormones in your body and helps the cervix to open slightly. The second pill must be taken within 36 - 48 hours of the first one and results in stimulating contractions to empty the uterus.

Judge and Gavel

The legal basis in Switzerland

Abortion is regulated under the Swiss Criminal Code (StGB). In the first 12 weeks, it is the women's personal choice if she wants to continue the pregnancy or not. After that, a termination is only possible if approved by a doctor (Article 119 CC).

Pregnant women under the age of 16 must go for a counselling session at one of the recognized organizations before the abortion (Article 120 of the Criminal Code). These organizations are mostly sexual health and family planning agencies.

Operation Room

Surgical abortion

A surgical abortion is usually carried out when it is too late for the abortion pill, between 7 and maximum up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. This procedure is also referred to as the suction aspiration method.

First, you will be given a pill to soften and stretch the cervix. Under local anaesthetic or sedation, your cervix will be widened to 9mm. A narrow tube will be inserted into the vagina to apply gentle suction to remove all of the pregnancy tissue. This procedure typically takes no more than 15 – 20 minutes.


Abortion worldwide

Regulations on abortion vary considerably by country and cultural or religious beliefs. There are countries such as Holland where abortion is legal up to 14 weeks. In the USA, a new law recently came into force that completely forbids abortion under any circumstances. China has had a 1-child
policy in place for a long time that prohibited families from having more than 1 child. The  European 
Pro-Healing Parliament wants to make abortion a fundamental right. In some Latin American countries, abortion is banned. It is reported that countries where religion plays a major role typically prohibit abortion. This forces desperate women to seek access to illegal and often very dangerous methods if they wish to terminate a pregnancy.

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