chapter  6
30 Pages

Towards Reform, 1939-1967

The inter-war discussion of abortion brought the subject into the open and set the shape of future debates . The recommendations of the Birkett Committee and outcome of the Bourne trial put the abortion decision more firmly in the hands of the medical profes­ sion , who could decide when a pregnancy was threatening to a woman's health . In the post-war years the concept of health under­ went a gradual expansion and the line created by the medical profession , between medical and social indications for abortion , became increasingly blurred . The issue was even more complicated by the issue of foetal abnormalities caused by rubella (German measles) and the prescription drug thalidomide . Therapeutic abor­ tions increased and the grounds of mental health recognised by the Bourne case were stretched to meet a variety of indications.