The clinical effects of propofol and methohexitone were compared in a group of 59 women undergoing abortion under general anaesthesia. At induction, the premedicated patients were given 2.5 mg . kg-1 propofol or methohexitone, followed by 1 mg . kg-1 fentanyl; if necessary, extra bolus doses of hypnotic were given. Hiccups and other movements were more frequent with methohexitone. There was no difference between the two groups as for injection pain and apnoea. The quicker recovery with propofol, with a mean of 2 min less, even when extra doses were given, could be explained by the pharmacokinetics of the drug. However, the quality of recovery in either group was satisfactory for short-length anaesthesia.