Until June 2002, Switzerland had one of the oldest abortion laws still in effect in Europe. This was contained in the Penal Code of 1937 and allowed a legal abortion for therapeutic reasons. The doctor had to obtain a second opinion from another doctor who was familiar with the woman's condition.

Swiss law did not set a time limit during pregnancy, but in practice doctors were reluctant to approve an abortion after the first trimester (12 weeks).

Although the abortion provisions of the Swiss Penal Code were highly restrictive, and had not changed since they came into effect in 1942, there were major differences in interpretation within the various cantons. The interpretation of the law had been left to the individual cantons (counties).

Within a few years, six cantons had very liberal abortion practices, and this trend spread to other cantons, so that it was rare for any woman to be refused. However, in a few Catholic cantons, it was almost impossible to obtain a legal abortion.

In some cantons, abortions were performed in private clinics, in others - public hospitals.

Up to the 1970s, Swiss abortion practices were among the most liberal in Western Europe, and attracted women from neighbouring countries where abortion was more restricted.

However, three attempts in the 1970s to actually liberalise the law were unsuccessful.

In September 2002, after years of debate, the Swiss were given the opportunity to vote in two referendums, called to decide whether to liberalise the country's 66-year old law, or make it more restrictive.

72% of voters backed a government proposal to allow abortions within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy in one referendum, and in the other 82% rejected a proposal by anti-abortion groups to toughen the already strict laws.

Even most of the Catholic cantons voted for the government proposals, with only two rejecting them. The law changed a month later.
Abortion in Honduras is completely forbidden. A provision which would have permitted abortions for reasons of life or health, or in cases of rape or foetal deformity, was rejected because it was seen as conflicting with constitutional 'right-to-life' provisions.