Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Original article

Vol. 141 No. 4142 (2011)

Clinical course in women undergoing termination of pregnancy within the legal time limit in French-speaking Switzerland

  • E Perrin
  • M Berthoud
  • M Pott
  • Vera Toledo
  • D Perrenoud
  • Demicheli Bianchi
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2011;141:w13282


BACKGROUND: In 2002, Swiss citizens voted to accept new laws legalising the termination of pregnancy (TOP) up to 12th week of pregnancy. As a result the cantons formulated rules of implementation. Health institutions then had to modify their procedures and practices.

QUESTIONS UNDER STUDY/PRINCIPLES: One of the objectives of these changes was to simplify the clinical course for women who decide to terminate a pregnancy. Have the various health institutions in French-speaking Switzerland attained this goal? Are there differences between cantons? Are there any other differences, and if so, which ones?

METHODS: Comparative study of cantonal rules of implementation. Study by questionnaire of what happened to 281 women having undergone a TOP in French-speaking Switzerland. Quantitative and qualitative method.

RESULTS: The comparative legal study of the six cantonal rules of implementation showed differences between cantons.

The clinical course for women are defined by four quantifiable facts: 1) the number of days to wait between the woman’s decision (first step) and TOP; 2) the number of appointments attended before TOP; 3) the method of TOP; 4) the cost of TOP. On average, the waiting time was 12 days and the number of appointments was 3. The average cost of TOP was 1360 CHF. The differences, sometimes quite large, are explained by the size of the institutions (large university hospitals; average-sized, non-university hospitals; private doctors’ offices).

CONCLUSIONS: The cantonal rules of implementation and the size of the health care institutions play an important role in these courses for women in French-speaking Switzerland.


  1. Boland R, Katzive L. Developments in Laws on Induced Abortion: 1998–2007. International Family Planning Perspectives, 2008;34(3):110–20.
  2. USPDA: et
  3. Bajos N, Ferrand M et l’équipe GINE. De la contraception à l’avortement. Sociologie des grossesses non prévues. Editions INSERM, collection Questions en santé publique, Paris, 2002.
  4. Mignot S. IVG: une loi qui a du mal à passer. Profession Sage-Femme, n.86, 2002/06: 4–8.
  5. Mignot S. Mieux appliquer la loi de juillet 2001. Profession Sage-Femme, n.95, 2003/05: 16–18.
  6. Alan Guttmacher Institute:
  7. Henshaw SK, Finer LB. The Accessibility of Abortion Services in the United States, 2001. Perspect Sexual Reprod Health. 2003;35(1):16–24.
  8. Finer LB, Henshaw SK, Jones RK, Keating A. (Alan Guttmacher Institut & Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, PRCH) An Overview of Abortion in the United States. Presentation of January 2003.
  9. Finer LB, Frohwirth LF, Dauphinee LA, Singh S, Moore AM. Timing of steps and reasons for delays in obtaining abortions in the United States. Contraception. 2006;74(4):334–44.
  10. Weber M. Essais sur la théorie de la science. Ed. Plon, Press Pocket, Paris, 1992.
  11. Pope C, Ziebland S, Mays N. Qualitative research in health care: Analysing qualitative data. BMJ. 2000;320:114–6.
  12. Boltanski L. La condition fœtale. Une sociologie de l’engendrement et de l’avortement. Paris: NRF Gallimard, 2004.
  13. Finer LB, et al. Reasons US women have abortions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2005;37:110–8.
  14. Bianchi-Demicheli F, Perrin E, Dupanloup A, Dumont P, Bonnet J, Berthoud M, et al. Contraceptive counselling and social representations: a qualitative study. Swiss Med Wkly. 2006;136:127–34.
  15. Bianchi-Demicheli F, Perrin E, Bianchi PG, Dumont P, Lüdicke F, Campana A. Contraceptive practice before and after termination of pregnancy: a prospective study. Contraception. 2003;67:107–13.
  16. Bianchi-Demicheli F, Perrin E, Lüdicke F, Bianchi PG, Chatton D, Campana A. Termination of pregnancy and women’s sexuality. In Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2002;53(1):48–53.
  17. Bianchi-Demicheli F, Perrin E, Lüdicke F, Campana A. Contraception and sexuality after induced abortion: a comparison between Lugano and Geneva. Swiss Med Wkly. 2001;131:515–20.
  18. Bianchi-Demicheli F, Perrin E, Lüdicke F, Bianchi PG, Fert D, Bonvallat F, et al. Sexuality, partner relations and contraceptive practice after termination of pregnancy. J Psychosom Obstet & Gynecol. 2001;22:83–90.
  19. Bianchi-Demicheli F, Kulier R, Perrin E, Campana A. Induced Abortion and Psychosexuality. J Psychosom Obstet & Gynaecol. 2000;21:213–7.
  20. Office fédéral de la statistique, OFS:
  21. Résumé de la conférence du Dr Evert Ketting, Berne, 28.03 1998:
  22. Réorganisation des activités médicales entre les sites de soins aigus somatiques. Rapport d’étude. Hôpital neuchâtelois, 7 janvier 2008.