• Date: Jan 01 1968
  • Policy Number: 6803

Key Words: Abortion, Family Planning, Contraceptives

Archived APHA Policy Statement

It is generally accepted that individual women and couples should have the means to decide, without compulsion, the number and spacing of their children. This personal right has been supported and enhanced through governmental action at all levels. The APHA and many other groups have joined with public agencies to secure this right, and to make widely available those services that will provide a range of choice of contraceptive methods consistent with personal beliefs and desires. However, contraceptive methods among users vary in effectiveness and suitability. Pregnancies sometimes occur due to rape, incest, and difficulties in obtaining contraceptives or because of contraceptive failures.

In order to assure the accepted right to determine freely the number and spacing of their children, safe legal abortion should be available to all women. Further, the provision of abortion within the usual channels of medical care will reduce the well-known adverse health effects of illegal abortion.

The American Public Health Association urges that access to abortion be accepted as an important means of securing the right to space and choose the number of wanted children. To this end, restrictive laws should be repealed, so that pregnant women may have abortions performed by qualified practitioners of medicine and osteopathy.