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AbortionLawsMap

International status of abortion law ██ Legal on demand ██ Legal for rape, maternal life, health, mental health, socioecomic factors, and/or fetal defects ██ Legal for or illegal with exception for rape, maternal life, health, fetal defects, and/or mental health ██ Illegal with exception for rape, maternal life, health, and/or mental health ██ Illegal with exception for maternal life, health, and/or mental health ██ Illegal with no exceptions ██ Varies by region ██ No information

Abortion law is legislation which pertains to the provision of abortion. Abortion has at times emerged as a controversial subject in various societies because of the moral and ethical issues that surround it, though other considerations, such as a state's pro- or antinatalist policies or questions of inheritance and patriarchy, also dictate abortion law and regulation. It has been regularly banned and otherwise limited, though abortions have continued to be commonplace in many areas where it is illegal. Almost 2/3 of the world’s women currently reside in countries where abortion may be obtained on request, for a broad range of social, economic or personal reasons. Abortion laws vary widely by country, ranging from Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Malta, and Vatican City, which ban the procedure entirely, to Canada, which places no restrictions on the provision of abortion whatsoever. Both supporters and opponents of legal abortion believe their position addresses a fundamental human right.

HistoryEdit

Abortion law
Scale of justice
Part of the abortion series
History & overview
Case law
History of abortion law
Laws by country
Types of regulation
Buffer zones
Conscience clauses
Fetal protection
Informed consent
Late-term restrictions
Parental involvement
Spousal consent


By the early 20th century, many countries had begun to legalize abortions when performed to protect the life of the woman, and in some cases to protect the health of the woman. Under Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Union legalized all abortions in 1920, but this was fully reversed in 1936 by Joseph Stalin in order to increase population growth. Iceland was the first Western country to legalize therapeutic abortion under limited circumstances, doing so in 1935, and the earliest country to do so without recriminalizing it later. Only a handful of countries – mostly in Scandinavia —decriminalized abortion before Britain did so in 1967. Other countries soon followed, including Canada (1969), the United States (1973 in most states, pursuant to the federal Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion nationwide), France (1975), Austria (1975),New Zealand (1977), Italy (1978) and the Netherlands (1980). However, these countries vary greatly in the circumstances under which abortion is permitted. In 1975, the West German Supreme Court struck down a law legalizing abortion, holding that they contradict the constitution's human rights guarantees. After Germany's reunification, despite the legal status of abortion in the former East Germany, a compromise was reached which deemed most abortions illegal but does not penalize it under certain circumstances.

International lawEdit

In addition to national and regional laws, there are multi-national and international treaties, conventions, and laws that may actually be enforced on or within signatory nations. However, there is an inherent difficulty in the enforcement of international law due to the issue that state sovereignty poses. As such, the effectiveness of even binding multi-national efforts to legislate the rights to life and liberty in general, or abortion in specific, is difficult to measure. Examples of such efforts that have or might have bearing for abortion law, nationally or internationally, include:

  • The 1994 Programme of Action states, in paragraph 8.25, "In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning. . . Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process. In circumstances where abortion is not against the law, such abortion should be safe." The nonbinding document was adopted by at least 179 countries at the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo, Egypt.
  • The 1995 Beijing Platform for Action states, in paragraph 96, “The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.” The nonbinding document has been adopted by 189 countries at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China. It calls upon nations in which abortion remains illegal to reconsider laws that punish women, but does not specifically advocate the legalization of abortion.

National lawsEdit

The following series of tables present the current abortion legislation of the world's nations as divided by continent. Actual access to abortion may vary significantly on the basis of geography, income, cost, health care, social factors, and other issues. Many jurisdictions also place other restrictions on abortion access, including waiting periods, the provision of information, the assent of multiple doctors, and spousal or parental notification.

Legend

  • Yes - Legal
  • No - Illegal
  • * - Legal during 1st trimester only (exact date may vary)
  • # - Legal during 1st and 2nd trimester only (exact date may vary)
  • Restricted - Legal but subject to significant restrictions
  • Varies - Varies by region
  •  ? - Information is unavailable or the law is too ambiguous

AfricaEdit

CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
AlgeriaYes##NoNoNoNo
Angola*NoNoNoNoNoNo
BeninYesYes?YesYesNoNo
BotswanaYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Burkina FasoYesYesYes*YesNoNo
BurundiYesYes?NoNoNoNo
CameroonYesYes?YesNoNoNo
Cape VerdeYesYesYes*Yes**
Central African RepublicYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
ChadYesYes?NoYesNoNo
ComorosYesYes?NoNoNoNo
Congo (Brazzaville)YesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Congo (Kinshasa)YesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Côte d'IvoireYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
DjiboutiYes??NoNoNoNo
EgyptRestrictedNoNoNoNoNoNo
Equatorial GuineaYesYes?NoNoNoNo
EritreaYesYes?NoNoNoNo
EthiopiaYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
GabonYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
GambiaYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
GhanaYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
GuineaYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Guinea-BissauYes******
KenyaRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedNoNoNoNo
LesothoYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
LiberiaYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
LibyaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
MadagascarYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
MalawiRestrictedNoNoNoNoNoNo
MaliYesNoNoYesNoNoNo
MauritaniaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
MauritiusYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Morocco***NoNoNoNo
MozambiqueYesYesYesNoNoNo* (illegal, but selectively allowed)[2]
NamibiaYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
NigerYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
NigeriaYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
RwandaYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
São Tomé and Príncipe*NoNoNoNoNoNo
SenegalYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Seychelles*****NoNo
Sierra LeoneYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
SomaliaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
South Africa######*
SudanYesNoNoYesNoNoNo
SwazilandYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
TanzaniaYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Togo*????NoNo
Tunisia*******
UgandaYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Western Sahara???????
ZambiaYesYesYesNoYesYesNo
ZimbabweYesYesNoYesYesNoNo

AsiaEdit

CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
AfghanistanYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
BangladeshYes******
Bhutan???????
CambodiaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
ChinaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Hong KongYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
IndiaYesYes####No
IndonesiaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Japan######No
Kazakhstan######*
Kyrgyzstan######*
LaosYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Malaysia***NoNoNoNo
MongoliaRestrictedRestricted*****
MyanmarYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
NepalYesYesYesYesYes**
North KoreaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
PakistanYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
PhilippinesYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
SingaporeYesYesYes####
South KoreaRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedRestricted
Sri LankaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Tajikistan######*
ThailandYesYesYesYesNoNoNo
Turkmenistan######*
Uzbekistan######*
VietnamYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

CaribbeanEdit

CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
Antigua and Barbuda*NoNoNoNoNoNo
BahamasYesYesYes??NoNo
BarbadosYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Cuba*******
DominicaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Dominican RepublicYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
GrenadaYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
HaitiYes?No??NoNo
JamaicaRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedNoNoNoNo
Puerto RicoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Saint Kitts and NevisYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Saint LuciaYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Trinidad and TobagoYesYesYesNoNoNoNo

EuropeEdit

CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
AlbaniaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
AndorraYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Armenia######*
AustriaYesYesYes*Yes**
AzerbaijanYesYesYesYesYesYes*
BelgiumYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
BelarusYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Bosnia and HerzegovinaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
BulgariaYes#**Yes**
CroatiaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
CyprusYesYesYesYesYes?No
Czech Republic##**#**
DenmarkYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
EstoniaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Faroe Islands#NoNo##NoNo
FinlandYesYesYes###No
FranceYesYesYes*Yes**
Georgia######*
CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
GermanyYesYes*YesYes** (illegal, but not punished)
GreeceYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
HungaryYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
IcelandYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Ireland, Republic ofYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
ItalyYesYesYes*Yes**
LatviaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
LiechtensteinYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
LithuaniaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
LuxembourgYesRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedNo
MacedoniaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
MaltaNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
MoldovaYesYesYesYesYesYes*
MonacoYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
NetherlandsYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
NorwayYesYesYesYesYesYes*
Northern Ireland[3]YesYesYesNoNoNoNo
PolandYesYesNo*#NoNo
PortugalYesYesYesYesYes*Yes
RomaniaYesYes*****
RussiaYesYesYes#Yes#*
CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
San MarinoYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Serbia and MontenegroYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Slovakia##*##**
SloveniaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
SpainYesYesYes*#NoNo
SwedenYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
SwitzerlandYesYesYesYesYes**
TurkeyYesYesYes*Yes**
Ukraine######*
United Kingdom (England and Wales
and Scotland only)
YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Vatican City[4]NoNoNoNoNoNoNo

Middle EastEdit

CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
BahrainYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
IranYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
IraqRestrictedNoNoNoRestrictedNoNo
IsraelYesYesYesYesYesNoNo
JordanYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
KuwaitRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedNoRestrictedNoNo
LebanonYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
OmanYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
QatarYesYesYesNoRestrictedNoNo
Saudi Arabia*RestrictedRestrictedNoNoNoNo
SyriaRestrictedNoNoNoNoNoNo
United Arab EmiratesRestrictedNoNoNoNoNoNo
YemenYesNoNoNoNoNoNo

North AmericaEdit

CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
BelizeYesYesYesNoYesYesNo
CanadaYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Costa RicaYesYes?NoNoNoNo
El Salvador YesNoNoNoNoNoNo
GuatemalaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
HondurasRestrictedNoNoNoNoNoNo
MexicoYesVariesVaries**VariesVaries
NicaraguaNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
PanamaYesYesNo*YesNoNo
United StatesYesYesYesYesYesYesVaries

Australasia and OceaniaEdit

CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
AustraliaYesVariesVariesVariesVariesVariesVaries
BruneiYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Cook IslandsYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
FijiYesYesYes??YesNo
KiribatiYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
MaldivesRestrictedRestrictedNoNoNoNoNo
Marshall IslandsRestrictedNoNoNoNoNoNo
MicronesiaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
NauruRestrictedRestrictedRestrictedNoNoNoNo
New ZealandYesYesYes##NoNo
NiueYes??NoNoNoNo
PalauYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
Papua New Guinea***NoNoNoNo
SamoaYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Solomon IslandsRestrictedNoNoNoNoNoNo
TongaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
TuvaluYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
VanuatuYesYesYesNoNoNoNo

South AmericaEdit

CountryTo Protect Woman's LifePhysical HealthMental HealthRapeFetal DefectsSocio-economic factorsOn Demand
ArgentinaYesYesNoRestrictedNoNoNo
BoliviaYesYes?YesNoNoNo
BrazilYesYesNoYesNoNoNo
ChileNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
ColombiaYesRestricted?YesRestrictedNoNo
EcuadorYesYes?RestrictedNoNoNo
GuyanaYesYesYesYes***
ParaguayYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
PeruYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
SurinameYesNoNoNoNoNoNo
UruguayYesYes**No*No
VenezuelaYesNoNoNoNoNoNo

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (March 6, 1981). Resolution 23/81. Retrieved October 27, 2006.
  2. Libombo, Aida, &, Bay Ustá, Momade. (2001). Mozambique Abortion Situation. Retrieved October 27, 2006.
  3. Q&A: Abortion in NI. (June 13 , 2001). BBC News. Retrieved October 27, 2006.
  4. United Nations Population Division. (1999). World Abortion Policies 1999. Retrieved January 24, 2007.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit


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