Abortion laws

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Legality of abortion by country or territory
Legal on request:
  No gestational limit
  Gestational limit after the first 17 weeks
  Gestational limit in the first 17 weeks
  Unclear gestational limit
Legally restricted to cases of:
  Risk to woman's life, to her health*, rape*, fetal impairment*, or socioeconomic factors
  Risk to woman's life, to her health*, rape, or fetal impairment
  Risk to woman's life, to her health*, or fetal impairment
  Risk to woman's life*, to her health*, or rape
  Risk to woman's life or to her health
  Risk to woman's life
  Illegal with no exceptions
  No information
* Does not apply to some countries or territories in that category
Note: In some countries or territories, abortion laws are modified by other laws, regulations, legal principles or judicial decisions. This map shows their combined effect as implemented by the authorities.

Abortion laws specify under what circumstances a woman can get an abortion. Getting an abortion means that the pregnancy is ended early, without the birth of a child. These laws vary widely, by country, and sometimes by area. They have also changed over time.

As of 2022, about 60% of the people live in a country that allows abortion, under some circumstances. When abortion is legal, it may mean that only part of the reasons are recognized, or that it is only legal for part of the pregnany.

Options for regulation[change | change source]

Generally, there are the following options, from the most liberal, to the most restrictive, when a pregancy can be ended:

  • Abortion can be done at any time of the pregnany, without punishment.
  • Abortion can be done during a part of the pregnancy; common timings are: during the first three, the first four or the first six months of the pregnancy (A normal pregnancylasts nine months)
  • Abortion is forbidden.

Common reasons for allowing an abortion:

  • The pregnancy is the result of the woman being raped, or sexually assaulted
  • The pregnancy resulted of incest. Incest is forbidden in many countries.
  • Not ending the pregnany poses a risk to the health or the life of the mother.
  • The child to be born would be severely impaired, or would likely die soon after being born.
  • The circumstances the woman or family lives in makes it very difficult to raise a child.

Discussions about abortion[change | change source]

Abortion is a controversial subject in many societies: People argue in favor or arganist it, using argumrnts from religion, moral and ethical values, or practical or political reasons. Note that legally outlawing abortions will not stop people from getting an abortion: They may get an unsafe abortion, which is riskier than a legal abortion. A study done in 2007 found that abortion rates were similar in countries where abortion was legal, and those countries where it wasn't.[1][2] Very often, people get an abortion, because they do not have easy access to modern contraceptives.[3] According to the same study, the number of abortions is decreasing, because contraceptives are more commonly available.[1][2]

Timeline[change | change source]

The table below lists in chronological order the United Nations member states that have legalized abortion on request in at least some initial part of the pregnancy, or that have fully decriminalized abortion. As of July 2022, 65 countries have legalized or decriminalized abortion on request.[a]

Where a country has legalized abortion on request, prohibited it, and legalized it again (e.g., former Soviet Union, Romania), only the later year is included. Countries that result from the merger of states where abortion on request was legal at the moment of unification show the year when it became legal across the whole national territory (e.g., Germany, Vietnam). Similarly, countries where not all subnational jurisdictions have legalized abortion on request are not included (e.g., leading to the exclusion of Australia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States). Countries are counted even if they were not yet independent at the time. The year refers to when the relevant law or judicial decision came into force, which may be different from the year when it was approved.

Year legalized Countries CpY CC
1955 ( Armenia  Azerbaijan  Belarus  Estonia  Georgia  Kazakhstan  Kyrgyzstan  Latvia  Lithuania  Moldova  Russia  Tajikistan  Turkmenistan  Ukraine  Uzbekistan as part of the Soviet Union) 15 15
1957  China[b] 1 16
1965  Cuba 1 17
1973  Denmark  Tunisia[7] 2 19
1974  Singapore  Sweden 2 21
1975  Austria  France[c]  Vietnam[d] 3 24
1977 ( Bosnia and Herzegovina  Croatia  Montenegro  North Macedonia  Serbia  Slovenia as part of Yugoslavia) 6 30
1978  Italy  Luxembourg 2 32
1979  Norway[e] 1 33
1983  Turkey 1 34
1984  Netherlands[f] 1 35
1986  Cape Verde  Greece 2 37
1987 ( Czech Republic  Slovakia as part of Czechoslovakia)[g] 2 39
1988  Canada 1 40
1989  Mongolia[14] 1 41
1990  Belgium  Bulgaria  Romania 3 44
1992  Germany[h] 1 45
1993  Guinea-Bissau[15][16] 1 46
1995  Guyana 1 47
1996  Albania[i] 1 48
1997  Cambodia  South Africa 2 50
2002  Nepal  Switzerland 2 52
2007  Portugal 1 53
2010  Spain 1 54
2012  São Tomé and Príncipe[18]  Uruguay 2 56
2015  Mozambique[j] 1 57
2018  Cyprus 1 58
2019  Iceland  Ireland[k] 2 60
2020  New Zealand 1 61
2021  Argentina[l]  South Korea  Thailand 3 64
2022  Colombia  San Marino 2 66

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Abortion Rates Similar In Countries That Legalize, Prohibit Procedure, Study Says". International Consortium for Medical Abortion (ICMA). Archived from the original on 23 March 2014. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sedgh, Gilda; Henshaw, Stanley; Singh, Susheela; Åhman, Elisabeth; Shah, Iqbal H. (13 August 2007). "Induced abortion: estimated rates and trends worldwide". The Lancet. 370 (9595): 1338–1345. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61575-X. PMID 17933648. S2CID 28458527.
  3. Susheela, Signh; Darroch, Jacqueline E.; Ashford, Lori S.; Vlassoff, Michael (2009). Adding It Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Family Planning and Newborn Health (PDF). New York: Guttmacher Institute and United Nations Population Fund. pp. 17, 19, 27. Some 215 million women in the developing world as a whole have an unmet need for modern contraceptives[...] If the 215 million women with unmet need used modern family planning methods....[that] would result in about 22 million fewer unplanned births; 25 million fewer abortions; and seven million fewer miscarriages....If women's contraceptive needs were addressed (and assuming no changes in abortion laws)...the number of unsafe abortions would decline by 73% from 20 million to 5.5 million. A few of the findings in that report were subsequently changed, and are available at "Facts on Investing in Family Planning and Maternal and Newborn Health" (PDF). Guttmacher Institute. November 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2012.
  4. 国务院关于印发中国妇女发展纲要和中国儿童发展纲要的通知, Government of the People's Republic of China, 2021 (in Chinese).
  5. Yaqiu, Wang (27 September 2021). "Beijing to Reduce 'Non-Medically Necessary' Abortions". Human Rights Watch.
  6. Ahmed, Kaamil (27 September 2021). "China to clamp down on abortions for 'non-medical purposes'". The Guardian.
  7. Penal Code, 2012. Article 214 (in French).
  8. Law no. 2001-588 of 4 July 2001 regarding voluntary interruption of pregnancy and contraception, Légifrance (in French).
  9. Voluntary interruption of pregnancy legal in Polynesia since 2001, Tahiti Infos, 4 September 2017 (in French).
  10. 26 years after the Veil Act, New Caledonia legalized abortion, France TV, 27 November 2014 (in French).
  11. Law on interruption of pregnancy (abortion law), Lovdata. "[A]mending law of 16 June 1978 no. 66 from 1 January 1979 according to resolution of 1 December 1978" (in Norwegian).
  12. Abortion permit for hospital in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean Legal Portal, 16 June 2012.
  13. Termination of pregnancy law, Government of the Netherlands (in Dutch).
  14. Tsogt, Bazarragchaa; Seded, Khishgee; Johnson, Brooke R.; Strategic Assessment Team (2 September 2008). "Applying the WHO Strategic Approach to Strengthening First and Second Trimester Abortion Services in Mongolia". Reproductive Health Matters. 16 (31 Suppl): 127–134. doi:10.1016/S0968-8080(08)31383-4. eISSN 1460-9576. ISSN 0968-8080. PMID 18772093 – via Taylor & Francis Group.
  15. Penal Code of Guinea-Bissau, Judicial Police of Guinea-Bissau, 20 May 2019. Article 112 (in Portuguese).
  16. Portuguese Penal Code of 1886, University of Coimbra, 1919. Article 358 (in Portuguese).
  17. "Për ndërprerjen e shtatëzënësisë" [On the Interruption of Pregnancy]. Law No. 8045 of 27 December 1995 (in Albanian). Parliament of Albania.
  18. Penal Code, Government of São Tomé and Príncipe, 2012. Book II, title I, chapter II (in Portuguese).
  19. Law of revision of the Penal Code, Gazette of the Republic of Mozambique, 31 December 2014. "The present law enters into force one hundred and eighty days after its publication." (in Portuguese)
  20. "Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 (Commencement) Order 2018". S.I. No. 594 of 2018 (PDF).
  21. "Acceso a la Interrupción Voluntaria del Embarazo" [Access to Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy]. Law No. 27.610 of 30 December 2020 (in Spanish). National Congress of Argentina.
  1. In addition, 6 countries with limited recognition (Artsakh, Donetsk PR, Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia, and Transnistria), and 8 autonomous jurisdictions (French Polynesia, Greenland, Guam, the Isle of Man, Jersey, New Caledonia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wallis and Futuna) have legalized or decriminalized abortion on request, which gives a total of 79 jurisdictions.
  2. In 2021, the Chinese government issued guidelines reducing "non-medically necessary" abortions as a "step toward women's development".[4] The guidelines do not provide detail on what a "non-medically necessary" abortion is, nor what specific policies the government has planned to achieve this goal.[5][6]
  3. In some parts of Overseas France, abortion on request became legal in 2001.[8][9][10]
  4. Year when all subnational jurisdictions legalized abortion on request.
  5. The law legalizing abortion on request was approved in 1978 and came into force in 1979.[11]
  6. In the Caribbean Netherlands, abortion on request became legal in 2011.[12][13]
  7. The law legalizing abortion on request was approved in 1986 and came into force in 1987.
  8. After explicit legalization struck down by supreme court decision, the law only removes punishment for abortion on request but with no statement about its legality.
  9. The law legalizing abortion on request was approved in 1995 and came into force in 1996.[17]
  10. The law legalizing abortion on request was approved in 2014 and came into force in 2015.[19]
  11. The law legalizing abortion on request was approved in 2018 and came into force in 2019.[20]
  12. The law legalizing abortion on request was approved in 2020 and came into force in 2021.[21]