National Health Service (Family Planning) Act 1967
The 1967 Family Planning Act made contraception readily available through the NHS by enabling local health authorities to provide advice to a much wider population. Previously, these services were limited to women whose health was put at risk by pregnancy. Edwin Brooks MP introduced it into the House of Commons as a Private Members Bill, calling Parliament to respond to the issue of a rapidly growing population. He identified a social problem whereby low income groups were at risk of economic struggle through having more children than they could afford.
In the same year Parliament passed the Abortion Act, which legislated that an abortion could take place if there were significant health risks to the pregnant woman or her unborn child. The passing of these Acts reflected changing attitudes to sex in society, highlighting a need for increased knowledge and conversation. Crucially, women were able to take control of their own fertility for the first time.
National Health Service (Family Planning) Act
Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1967/c39