Overseas Influences

The 1960s were a time of social revolution throughout the western world and inevitably the "sexual revolution" changed attitudes to abortion.

In Britain, the Humanist Society, allied with the Abortion Law Reform Association, devised a successful public relations strategy to build a groundswell of support for change, culminating in the passing of the British Abortion Act on 27th October, 1967.

The Act permitted abortion if continuation of the pregnancy risked the life or the physical and mental health of the woman.

Once the law changed, opposition to abortion within the British medical profession virtually collapsed. The practical effect of the new law was to allow abortion on request, and for years women travelled to Britain from Europe to have their abortions.

The British Abortion Act inspired pro-abortion groups and politicians to press for change in their own countries.

Between 1967 and 1977, the laws of at least 43 countries were changed. In the United States on 22nd January, 1973, the Supreme Court struck down all state laws and established abortion on demand in the fifty states.

Australia followed the trend: in 1969 laws were changed in Victoria and in South Australia. New South Wales and the Capital Territory in 1971.