Abortion legislation

Legislation timeline

  • 1942: abortion is allowed under strict medical conditions and handled very differently by region (Penal Code Act, articles 118-121 dated January)
  • 2001: modifications of Penal Code Act, articles 118-121 (23 March)
  • 2002: adoption of Penal Code Act, articles 118-121 (June)
  • 2002: new law allowing abortion on request is effective (Penal Code Act, articles 118-120) (1 October)

Source: SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland, former PLANeS (www.sante-sexuelle.ch)

Abortion conditions

Ground Gestational limit
To save a woman’s life No limit
Because of foetal impairment No limit*
To preserve a woman’s mental health
To preserve a woman’s physical health
For economic and social reasons
On request 12 weeks from LMP**

* As fœtal impairment can affect the woman's physical and mental health ** The woman must express her distress (written request)

Source: SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland, former PLANeS (www.sante-sexuelle.ch)

Legal conditions

  • Written consent by the woman
  • Pre-abortion consultation (legal counselling)

Specific conditions for minors

  • Pre-abortion specific counselling with a certified physician (“kantonsarzt”) for minors under 16
  • Parent’s (or guardian’s) consent required for minors under 16 incapable of discernment only.


  • IPPF European Network – http://www.ippfen.org/
  • SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland, former PLANeS (www.sante-sexuelle.ch)

Practical conditions

Medical abortion conditions

Place Prescription 1st drug taken 2nd drug taken
OB/GYN department of a hospital/clinic Yes Yes Yes
Another physician office Yes Yes Yes
Midwife office No No No
Abortion centre/clinic
At home No No Yes

Source: SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland, former PLANeS (www.sante-sexuelle.ch)

Mandatory pre-abortion examinations

  • None

Involved healthcare professionals

  • Surgical abortion: obstetrician/gynaecologist (OB/GYN) or another physician
  • Medical abortion: OB/GYN or another physician


  • SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland, former PLANeS (www.sante-sexuelle.ch)

Abortion statistics

Abortion rates per 1,000 women aged 15-44

Source: https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/sante/etat-sante/reproductive/interruptions-grossesses.html

Overall number of induced abortions

Source: https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/sante/etat-sante/reproductive/interruptions-grossesses.html

Abortion ratio per 1.000 live births: 132 (2022)

Source: https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/sante/etat-sante/reproductive/interruptions-grossesses.html

Abortions performed “on request”: % ()


Overall number of induced abortions vs. medical abortions

Source: https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/sante/etat-sante/reproductive/interruptions-grossesses.html

Induced abortions per gestational age (2022)

Source: https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/sante/etat-sante/reproductive/interruptions-grossesses.assetdetail.26386397.html

Place of abortion ()

Unfortunately we have no data for this country.


Characteristics of women having induced abortion

Distribution of induced abortions according to woman age (2022)

Source: https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/sante/etat-sante/reproductive/interruptions-grossesses.assetdetail.26386394.html

In 2022, among women who had induced abortion:

  • 98% lived in Switzerland


  • https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/sante/etat-sante/reproductive/interruptions-grossesses.html

Fertility and contraception

Fertility rates in women aged 15-49

Source: https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/population/naissances-deces/fecondite.html

Women age at first birth

  • 31.2 years of age (2022)

Overall contraception data

  • Contraceptive prevalence rate was 780*/1,000 women aged 15-49 in 2017
  • use of oral contraceptive: 270*/1,000
  • use of intra-uterine device (IUD): 117*/1,000

* in the last 12 months, sexually active

Pre-abortion contraception

  • In 2016, 58%** of women who had abortion had a contraceptive method before abortion procedure.

** data available for 21% of the performed abortions

Contraception during abortion process (2016)

  • 94%** of women had a contraceptive method prescribed during abortion process
  • 39%** of women had a Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) prescribed during abortion process

** data available for 21% of the performed abortions

  • IUDs and implants can be placed in abortion facilities.


  • https://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/fr/home/statistiques/population/naissances-deces/fecondite.assetdetail.27225531.html

Country-specific characteristics

  • Women must express their distress in writing for abortion “on request”.
  • Abortion is taught during health care professionals’ (HCPs’) medical studies.
  • HCPs do not have the right to conscientiously object.
  • Abortion is not reimbursed by the Health national social security.
  • Both surgical and medical abortions are reimbursed to resident women by private health insurance. Nevertheless, women have to pay an “annual deductible” for treatments overall, i.e., the first €300 – €4,400 depending on the insurance model + 10% of the costs exceeding the deductible, up to a payment of €600.
  • Non-resident women have to pay around €850 – €2,600 (surgical) or €440 – €1,300 (medical).


  • IPPF European Network – Updated January 2012 (http://www.ippfen.org/)
  • SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland, former PLANeS (www.sante-sexuelle.ch)

Download statistics of Switzerland

The statistics presented are freely accessible and may be used, copied, displayed or distributed provided that their source is given. You can choose whether you prefer to download the statistics of the last 10 years or the full data set. Press one of the buttons to generate a report in PDF format for this country.

Abbreviations: EFTA = European Free Trade Association | EU = European Union | IUD = intra-uterine device | LARC = long-acting reversible contraception | LMP = last menstruation period | GYN = gynaecologist | HCP = health care professional | hCG = human chorionic gonadotropin | HIV = human immunodeficiency virus | OB = obstetrician | Rh = Rhesus | US = ultrasound

A special thanks to our correspondents for contributing in data collection.
Please contact info@exelgyn.com if you have additional data or would like to comment information

Page last updated: 4 March 2024