There has always been debate over abortion, which is the surgical termination of an unborn child’s pregnancy at an early stage. Regarding abortion, we all have our own unique set of values and beliefs that influence how we feel about the procedure and how we feel about it.
A woman’s right to physical autonomy (and health) and her unborn child’s right to life is at stake in abortion, two inherent rights that are at odds. For these and other reasons, abortion regulations differ greatly across countries and within the United States.
Table of Contents
Abortion laws are undeniably (though understandably) complicated.
Abortion laws vary from state to state. By 2021, there will be 24 nations where abortion is outlawed. Most nations have taken a more sophisticated approach.
An embryo or fetus may be aborted up to a particular point in the pregnancy in almost all countries where abortion is allowed. Still, after it reaches that point, it cannot be terminated.
However, it might be as short as six weeks and as long as 24 weeks. If the pregnancy is the consequence of rape, incest, or the baby has an obvious developmental defect, an abortion may also be lawful.
Gender-based abortion is permitted in several nations, notably in Asia, where male offspring are more highly prized than female children.
In addition, the condition of the mother is an important consideration. Abortion is outlawed in 37 countries unless the mother’s life is at risk. Other nations prohibit it unless it is needed to save the mother’s life or protect her health while pregnant.
When an embryo fails to implant in the uterus but instead implants elsewhere (in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or just outside the uterus), this is an ectopic pregnancy.
In addition to the significant risk of the mother’s death, ectopic pregnancies can’t be taken to term since the embryo cannot thrive outside the uterus.
Another factor to consider is money. If carrying a pregnancy to term would cause the mother an undue economic hardship, several nations allow abortion.
For women denied abortion access, studies have shown that the extra financial burden of caring for a second child increases their risk for poverty.
Additional rules and regulations may be found in many nations’ abortion legislation, such as needing parental/spousal permission (or in situations of rape, a police complaint) or limiting access to techniques of ascertaining the fetus’ gender.
Making abortion illegal in the real world
Abortion rates across the globe are unaffected by the legality of the procedure, according to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO). Abortions can, will, and do occur, regardless of whether they are legal.
Abortion, on the other hand, has a direct impact on how safe such abortions are. A lack of legal abortion choices forces many women to resort to illegal or “homemade” abortions, which are riskier, more deadly, and less successful than abortions performed by physicians in a clinical environment.
Laws concerning abortion in key countries are analyzed.
As of 2022, the United States’ abortion laws are in upheaval. The Supreme Court’s historic Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 legalized abortion in the United States. Abortion was allowed across the nation, although each state had its own rules, some more stringent than others.
However, on June 24, 2022, the then-current Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case involving the then-current Supreme Court.
This judgment allowed each state to decide whether or not to allow abortion. State abortion regulations are now more diverse than ever before.
Thirty states had expressly prohibited abortion before Roe v. Wade overturned such laws. Although Roe v. Wade obliged these states to legalize abortion, several nevertheless passed rules restricting it to the extent that the state permitted it.
It was expected that these states would rapidly return to banning abortion. Moreover, a week after the Dobbs ruling, this was the case in more than 20 states, primarily red areas in the center and south of the United States.
Roe v. Wade declared some of these restrictions dormant, but they were never deleted from the state’s legal code. Thus they reactivated after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
When Roe v. Wade was abolished, thirteen states introduced trigger laws—anti-abortion measures that would go into effect immediately if the Supreme Court overturned the statute.
As a result of the Roe v. Wade decision, future abortion laws may be more stringent and punitive than previous versions.
For example, a 2021 Texas legislation (S.B. 8) allowed private residents to sue anybody they learned had conducted or facilitated an abortion, even if they had never met any of the persons involved. This new rule was not in Texas’ abortion laws before the RvW.
With a few exceptions: where a pregnant woman has been sexually abused, or the pregnancy is the consequence of unmarried incest, or when the mother’s life would be at risk if she carried the pregnancy to term, Latin America’s biggest nation has not prohibited abortion in its entirety.
Abortion laws across the world often include these three exceptions.
As long as the abortion occurs before the gestational limit, which varies from province to province and territory from 12 weeks to 24 weeks + 6 days, it is lawful in Canada. No legally compelling cause (such as rape or health problems) is required.
Most abortions were unlawful until the Supreme Court of Canada overturned those prohibitions in 1988. This service is included in the Canadian national health care plan. Patients are not paid for abortions carried out in a traditional hospital setting.
In certain cases, the patient may be responsible for the whole cost of the abortion if it is done in a private clinic.
As of the 12th week of pregnancy in Russia, abortion is completely lawful. However, in situations of rape and when the pregnancy is threatening the mother’s life, abortion is permitted up to the 22nd week. In 1920, Russia became the first nation to make it lawful to abort for any reason.
Although a blanket prohibition on abortion was reintroduced in 1936, it was repealed in 1955 and has been accessible ever since. Russia had the world’s highest number of abortions per capita in 2010.
Abortion regulations in several nations throughout the globe are listed below:
|Andorra||Haiti||Malta||Republic of the Congo|
|Dominican Republic||Jamaica||Palau||Sierra Leone|
Also See: Common Law Countries 2022
Abortion laws in each nation are summarized in the table below.
- On Request — Abortion may be performed for any cause; however, gestational limitations still apply.
- Save Life — A woman’s life, abortion is permissible.
- Physical Health — Abortion is permitted when the fetus is in danger of serious but non-fatal damage to the mother.
- Mental Health — Abortion is permissible if the pregnancy jeopardizes the woman’s mental/emotional health.
- Rape — When pregnancy is the consequence of rape, it is permissible to abort the child.
- Incest — It is permissible to abort a pregnancy if the mother and father are incestuous.
- Cognitively Disabled — Abortion is lawful for intellectually or mentally impaired women.
- Fetal Impairment — Pregnant women who know their unborn child has substantial mental or physical impairments are permitted to terminate the pregnancy. More specific recommendations are sometimes required since the disorders included here might vary from those that aren’t life-threatening, like Down Syndrome, to those that are, like anencephaly, completely lethal.
- Socioeconomic — Abortion is lawful if the mother cannot financially care for the kid.
|Country||Abortion on Request||2022 Population|
|Afghanistan||To save a woman's life||40754.3880|
|Algeria||To preserve physical/mental health||45350.1480|
|Antigua and Barbuda||To save a woman's life||99.5090|
|Argentina||To preserve physical health||46010.2340|
|Bahamas||To preserve physical health||400.5160|
|Bangladesh||To save a woman's life||167885.6890|
|Barbados||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||288.0230|
|Belize||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||412.1900|
|Benin||To preserve physical health||12784.7260|
|Bhutan||To save a woman's life||787.9410|
|Bolivia||To preserve physical health||11992.6560|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||No restriction||3249.3170|
|Botswana||To preserve physical/mental health||2441.1620|
|Brazil||To save a woman's life||215353.5930|
|Burkina Faso||To preserve physical health||22102.8380|
|Burundi||To preserve physical health||12624.8400|
|Cameroon||To preserve physical health||27911.5480|
|Cape Verde||No restriction||567.6780|
|Central African Republic||To preserve physical health||5016.6780|
|Chad||To preserve physical health||17413.5800|
|Chile||To save a woman's life||19250.1950|
|Colombia||To preserve physical/mental health||51512.7620|
|Comoros||To preserve physical health||907.4190|
|Costa Rica||To preserve physical health||5182.3540|
|Cyprus||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||1223.3870|
|Czech Republic||No restriction||10736.7840|
|Djibouti||To preserve physical health||1016.0970|
|Dominica||To save a woman's life||72.3440|
|Dominican Republic||Prohibited altogether||11056.3700|
|DR Congo||Prohibited altogether||95240.7920|
|Ecuador||To preserve physical health||18113.3610|
|El Salvador||Prohibited altogether||6550.3890|
|Equatorial Guinea||To preserve physical health||1496.6620|
|Eritrea||To preserve physical/mental health||3662.2440|
|Eswatini||To preserve physical/mental health||1184.8170|
|Ethiopia||To preserve physical health||120812.6980|
|Fiji||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||909.4660|
|Finland||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||5554.9600|
|Gambia||To preserve physical/mental health||2558.4820|
|Ghana||To preserve physical/mental health||32395.4500|
|Grenada||To preserve physical health||113.4750|
|Guatemala||To save a woman's life||18584.0390|
|Guinea||To preserve physical health||13865.6910|
|Hong Kong||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||7604.2990|
|Iceland||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||345.3930|
|India||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||1406631.7760|
|Indonesia||To save a woman's life||279134.5050|
|Iran||To save a woman's life||86022.8370|
|Ireland||To save a woman's life||5020.1990|
|Israel||To preserve physical/mental health||8922.8920|
|Ivory Coast||To save a woman's life||27742.2980|
|Jamaica||To preserve physical/mental health||2985.0940|
|Japan||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||125584.8380|
|Jordan||To preserve physical health||10300.8690|
|Kenya||To preserve physical health||56215.2210|
|Kiribati||To save a woman's life||123.4190|
|Kuwait||To preserve physical health||4380.3260|
|Lebanon||To save a woman's life||6684.8490|
|Lesotho||To preserve physical health||2175.6990|
|Liberia||To preserve physical/mental health||5305.1170|
|Libya||To save a woman's life||7040.7450|
|Liechtenstein||To preserve physical health||38.3870|
|Malawi||To save a woman's life||20180.8390|
|Malaysia||To preserve physical/mental health||33181.0720|
|Maldives||To preserve physical health||540.9850|
|Mali||To save a woman's life||21473.7640|
|Marshall Islands||Prohibited altogether||60.0570|
|Mauritius||To preserve physical/mental health||1274.7270|
|Mexico||To save a woman's life||131562.7720|
|Monaco||To preserve physical health||39.7830|
|Morocco||To preserve physical health||37772.7560|
|Mozambique||To preserve physical/mental health||33089.4610|
|Myanmar||To save a woman's life||55227.1430|
|Namibia||To preserve physical/mental health||2633.8740|
|Nauru||To preserve physical/mental health||10.9030|
|New Zealand||To preserve physical/mental health||4898.2030|
|Niger||To preserve physical health||26083.6600|
|Nigeria||To save a woman's life||216746.9340|
|North Korea||No restriction||25990.6790|
|North Macedonia||No restriction||2081.3040|
|Oman||To save a woman's life||5323.9930|
|Pakistan||To preserve physical health||229488.9940|
|Panama||To save a woman's life||4446.9640|
|Papua New Guinea||To save a woman's life||9292.1690|
|Paraguay||To save a woman's life||7305.8430|
|Peru||To preserve physical health||33684.2080|
|Poland||To preserve physical health||37739.7850|
|Qatar||To preserve physical health||2979.9150|
|Republic of the Congo||Prohibited altogether||5797.8050|
|Rwanda||To preserve physical health||13600.4640|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||To preserve physical/mental health||53.8710|
|Saint Lucia||To preserve physical/mental health||185.1130|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||111.5510|
|Samoa||To preserve physical/mental health||202.2390|
|San Marino||Prohibited altogether||34.0850|
|Sao Tome and Principe||Prohibited altogether||227.6790|
|Saudi Arabia||To preserve physical health||35844.9090|
|Seychelles||To preserve physical/mental health||99.4260|
|Sierra Leone||To preserve physical/mental health||8306.4360|
|Solomon Islands||To save a woman's life||721.1590|
|Somalia||To save a woman's life||16841.7950|
|South Africa||No restriction||60756.1350|
|South Korea||To preserve physical health||51329.8990|
|South Sudan||To save a woman's life||11618.5110|
|Sri Lanka||To save a woman's life||21575.8420|
|Sudan||To save a woman's life||45992.0200|
|Syria||To save a woman's life||19364.8090|
|Taiwan||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||23888.5950|
|Tanzania||To save a woman's life||63298.5500|
|Thailand||To preserve physical/mental health||70078.2030|
|Timor-Leste||To save a woman's life||1369.4290|
|Togo||To preserve physical health||8680.8370|
|Trinidad and Tobago||To preserve physical/mental health||1406.5850|
|Tuvalu||To save a woman's life||12.0660|
|Uganda||To save a woman's life||48432.8630|
|United Arab Emirates||To save a woman's life||10081.7850|
|United Kingdom||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||68497.9070|
|United States||Varies by state||334805.2690|
|Vanuatu||To preserve physical health||321.8320|
|Venezuela||To save a woman's life||29266.9910|
|Yemen||To save a woman's life||31154.8670|
|Zambia||To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds||19470.2340|
|Zimbabwe||To preserve physical health||15331.4280|