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Mrs. Finkbine Is Permitted an Abortion in Sweden

Aug. 17, 1962 - Mrs. Sherri Finkbine of Phoenix, Ariz., won permission today in Stockholm, Sweden, for a legal abortion. The three-member Committee on Abortions of the Royal Swedish Medical Board approved her application so as to safeguard her “mental health.” This decision ended a quest that began four weeks ago when Mrs. Finkbine learned that the tranquilizers she had taken in the early stages of her pregnancy contained Thalidomide. Mrs. Finkbine, a 30-year-old mother of four healthy children, feared that, like thousands of European women who had also taken Thalidomide, she might give birth to a deformed baby. After failing to win a legal abortion in Arizona, where peril to the mother’s life is the only allowable cause, she flew to Sweden Aug. 5 to seek an abortion under the more liberal Swedish law. Her husband Robert, a 31-year-old high school history teacher, said at a news conference that they hoped the operation “will be performed by Monday at the latest.” Mr. Finkbine said he had received the telephone call by which the decision was announced at 10:15 a.m. When he told his wife of the decision, he said, she sobbed with relief. But he said that she had “very few tears left since she had cried so much all night.” Both felt relieved but “numb,” he declared.


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