Organisation :
Verified on :
Source :
Previous Version(s) :
Declaration of Oslo


Adopted by the 24th World Medical Assembly, Oslo, Norway, 1970

1. The first moral principle imposed upon the doctor is respect for human life as expressed in a clause of the Declaration of Geneva: "I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from the time of conception."

2. Circumstances which bring the vital interests of a mother into conflict with the vital interests of her unborn child create a dilemma and raise the question whether or not the pregnancy should be deliberately terminated.

3. Diversity of response to this situation results from the diversity of attitudes towards the life of the unborn child. This is a matter of individual conviction and conscience which must be respected.

4. It is not the role of the medical profession to determine the attitudes and rules of any particular state or community in this matter, but it is our duty to attempt both to ensure the protection of our patients and to safeguard the rights of the doctor within society.

5. Therefore, where the law allows therapeutic abortion to be performed, or legislation to that effect is contemplated, and this is not against the policy of the national medical association, and where the legislature desires or will accept the guidance of the medical profession, the following principles are approved:

a) Abortion should be performed only as a therapeutic measure.

b) A decision to terminate pregnancy normally should be approved in writing by at least two doctors chosen for their professional competence.

c) The procedure should be performed by a doctor competent to do so in premises approved by the appropriate authority.

6. If the doctor considers that his convictions do not allow him to advise or perform an abortion, he may withdraw while ensuring the continuity of (medical) care by a qualified colleague.

7. This statement, while it is endorsed by the General Assembly of the World Medical Association, is not to be regarded as binding on any individual member association unless it is adopted by that member association.