List of Countries Where Abortion Is Legal

Countries with Legal Abortion

When it comes to abortion, rules are determined by religion and culture. In conservative states of the US, such as Texas and some European Catholic countries like Portugal and Poland, it is easier for women to get an abortion.
Talking about Europe, the abortion laws in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland are quite restrictive. The jurisdiction only makes it permissible if the life of the mother is in danger. In most parts of Europe,  termination of a human pregnancy is only allowed between 10 and 14 weeks of the gestation period. There are countries that allow abortion to be carried out beyond this point too but that is only permissible on specific grounds.

For example, in Greece, it is permissible to abort within the limit of 12 weeks. However, if the pregnancy was a result of a rape, then the limit is 19 weeks. Other than this, if it is 24 weeks and the baby poses a threat to the life or health of the mother, then termination of pregnancy is acceptable.

In Poland, there are certain circumstances in which it is legal. Such as when the pregnancy was a result of incest or rape, foetal impairment or when the life of the mother is in danger. In Finland, UK and Iceland, although there are restrictions, but the abortion rate is still high.

General Regulations Regarding the Procedure of Abortion

  • Only licensed physicians are allowed to perform it.
  • Most countries allow it to protect the life and health of women.
  • Private insurance plans mostly do not provide any coverage. Even if there are some plans for it, you have to purchase them with an additional cost.
  • Many countries provide counseling to women before abortion. It includes information on the link between abortion and breast cancer, pain to the fetus and other long term mental health consequences that any woman may have to face.
  • Some countries require women to go through the waiting period. It is usually 24 hours and during this time, she receives counseling.
  • There are certain countries which have a mandatory parental involvement in the decision. The consent of both the parents is required for the procedure. Some countries require only consent of one parent.

History of Abortion Laws around the World

Before the 19th century, there were no particular laws about it. In 1869, Pope Pius IX declared that ensoulment occurs at conception. Because of this, laws were developed to restrict it and they still prevail in a number of developing countries even today. Later on, between 1950 and 1985, most of the developed countries liberalized the laws due to safety and human rights. Now, the countries where restrictive laws still exist, it is majorly because of the old colonial laws.

Countries Where Abortion Is Legal

Here is the list of some of the countries where abortion is legal. Each country has its own requirements regarding the procedure.

  1. United States

The abortion laws vary in the country from state to state. As states cannot really pass laws to ban abortion, they impose restrictions. In the first six months of 2017, about 431 provisions were introduced at the state level for restricting the abortion access.

Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, and Arizona have gone above and beyond for curbing the reproductive rights of women. They have completely banned the second trimester procedure by increasing the number of medical records requested by the provider. Most of the states have made it difficult to access abortion care and half of them have implemented waiting periods and counseling (which are mandatory). Some states have long waiting periods, others have increased the cost and some require parental consent. Check out the list of states and their abortion laws within America.

  1. United Kingdom

In Britain, the 1967 Abortion Act allows women to legally get an abortion. As per the law, it is legal to get abortion up to 24 weeks. If the pregnancy exceeds 24 weeks, then it is illegal unless there is a risk to the life of the mother or there are foetal abnormalities. As per the law, two doctors must decide whether a female meets the legal requirement of abortion or not.

  1. Brazil

Abortion is permitted only if it’s the matter of saving the woman’s life, if it is a rape case and a few other circumstances.

  1. Ireland

Abortion is only allowed when it is the matter of saving a woman’s life.

  1. Nigeria

It is allowed in certain health cases or when it is the matter of saving the mother’s life.

  1. Iran

It is only allowed if it’s the matter of saving the woman’s life.

  1. Indonesia

Abortion is allowed in the case of rape, fetal impairment or to save the mother’s life. The approval of the spouse is also required.

  1. Saudi Arabia

Abortion is only allowed when it is the matter of health or life of the woman. Parental or spouse approval is required.

  1. Argentina

It is allowed only when it is a rape case, or when there is a threat to life or health.

  1. Jamaica

The country has only two exceptions for abortion; one when it is the matter of the life of the women and two when it is the case of preserving her physical and mental health.

There are such countries too that permit abortion in any case. The percentage of such countries is very little. Turkey, China and Australia fall in the list.

List of countries where abortion is legally permitted only to save the life of the pregnant women or to protect her health:

From the Caribbean From Asia and pacific Middle east and North Africa Europe Sub-Saharan Africa
Argentina Pakistan Kuwait Poland Ethiopia
Bolivia South Korea Saudi Arabia Finland Zimbabwe
Peru Thailand Morocco Germany Malawi
Costa Rica China Netherland Guinea
Switzerland Cameroon
Belgium Burundi
Denmark Burkina Faso
The Netherlands
United Kingdom

Countries where abortion is illegal

Most of the countries permit abortion when it is the matter of life or health but there are such countries too that have made it illegal no matter what. These include:

  • Chile
  • Dominican Republic
  • Malta
  • Holy See
  • Nicaragua
  • El Salvador



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