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March 26, 2016
Table of Contents

1 Introduction
Abortion law

Wikipedia

 

image:AbortionLawsMap.png|thumb|right|250px|International status of abortion law

Abortion has been a controversial subject throughout history due to the morality|moral and ethics|ethical issues that surround it. 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 and Malta, which bans abortion 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. The rights of the father are being given more recognition in the decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy in places where it is legal.






Abortion and contraception have been widely available throughout the history of Western Civilization, despite ethical concerns. Plato and Aristotle both argued in favor of compulsory abortion under certain circumstances, though Hippocrates expressly disapproved of the practice. Under Roman law, life was said to begin at birth. Abortions were thus legal, though regulated to protect the rights of the father. References to abortion were included in the writings of Ovid, Seneca the Younger|Seneca, Juvenal and Pliny the Elder|Pliny, who included a list of abortifacients (drugs that induce an abortion) in one text. Early Christian philosophers, including Augustine of Hippo|St. Augustine, Ivo of Chartres and Gratian (jurist)|Gratian, disapproved of abortion when it broke the link between the sexual act and procreation, but argued that abortion of what Ivo termed an 'unformed embryo' did not constitute homicide.

Religious authorities have taken various positions on abortion throughout history (see Religion and abortion). In 1588, Pope Sixtus V adopted a papal bull adopting the position of St. Thomas Aquinas that contraception and abortion were crimes against nature and sins against marriage. This verdict was relaxed three years later by Pope Gregory XIV, who pronounced that abortion before 'hominization' should not be subject to church penalties that were any stricter than civil penalties. Common law positions on abortion in individual countries varied significantly from country to country. English common law considered abortions before 'quickening' - when the movements of the fetus could first be felt by the mother - to be morally and legally acceptable.

Many Western countries began to make abortion illegal in the 19th century. Anti-abortion forces were led by a combination of conservative groups opposed to abortion on moral grounds and medical professionals who were concerned about the danger presented by the procedure and the regular involvement of non-medical personnel in performing abortions.

It became clear in the following years, however, that illegal abortions continued to take place in large numbers even where abortions were expressly illegal. It was difficult to obtain sufficient evidence to prosecute the mothers and doctors, and judges and juries were often reluctant to convict. For instance: Dr. Henry Morgentaler was never convicted by a jury. Many were also outraged at the invasion of privacy and the medical problems resulting from abortions taking place illegally in medically dangerous circumstances. Political movements soon coalesced around the legalization of abortion and liberalization of existing laws.

By the early 20th century, many countries had begun to legalize abortions when performed to protect the life of the mother, and in some cases to protect the health of the mother. 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 United Kingdom|Britain in 1967. Others soon followed, including Canada (1969), the United States (1973 in most states), France (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 German Supreme Court German Federal Constitutional Court abortion decision|struck down a law legalizing abortion, holding that they contradict the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany|constitution's human rights guarantees. After Germany's reunification, a compromise was reached which deemed most abortions illegal but does not penalize it under certain circumstances.






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 1978 American Convention on Human Rights states, in Article 4.1, "Every person has the right to have his life respected. This right shall be protected by law and, in general, from the moment of conception." The Convention is considered binding only for the 24 of 35 member nations of the Organization of American States who ratify|ratified it. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that the words "in general" left room for individual nations to determine their own abortion legislation. http://www.wcl.american.edu/humright/digest/1980/res2381.cfm


  • The 1994 http://www.unfpa.org/icpd/icpd_poa.html 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 http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/index.html 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.






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


Africa |-
!To Protect Mother's Life!!Physical Health!!Mental Health!!Rape!!Fetal Defects!!Socio-economic factors!!On Demand
Algeria Yes # # No No No No
Angola * No No No No No No
Benin Yes No No No No No No
Botswana Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Burkina Faso Yes Yes Yes * Yes No No
Burundi Yes Yes ? No No No No
Cameroon Yes Yes ? Yes No No No
Cape Verde Yes Yes Yes * Yes * *
Central African Republic Yes No No No No No No
Chad Yes No No No No No No
Comoros Yes Yes ? No No No No
Congo (Brazzaville) Yes No No No No No No
Congo (Kinshasa) Yes No No No No No No
Djibouti Yes ? ? No No No No
Egypt Restricted No No No No No No
Equatorial Guinea Yes Yes ? No No No No
Eritrea Yes Yes ? No No No No
Ethiopia Yes Yes ? No No No No
Gabon Yes No No No No No No
Gambia Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Ghana Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Guinea-Bissau Yes * * * * * *
Kenya Restricted Restricted Restricted No No No No
Lesotho Yes No No No No No No
Liberia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Libya Yes No No No No No No
Madagascar Yes No No No No No No
Malawi Restricted No No No No No No
Mali Yes No No No No No No
Mauritania Yes No No No No No No
Mauritius Yes No No No No No No
Morocco * * * No No No No
Mozambique Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes
Namibia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Niger Yes No No No No No No
Nigeria Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Rwanda Yes Yes Yes No No No No
S??o Tom?? and Pr??ncipe * No No No No No No
Senegal Yes No No No No No No
Seychelles * * * * * No No
Sierra Leone Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Somalia Yes No No No No No No
South Africa # # # # # # *
Sudan Yes No No Yes No No No
Swaziland Yes No No No No No No
Tanzania Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Togo * ? ? ? ? No No
Tunisia * * * * * * *
Uganda Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Zambia Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Zimbabwe Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No


Asia |-
!To Protect Mother's Life!!Physical Health!!Mental Health!!Rape!!Fetal Defects!!Socio-economic factors!!On Demand
Afghanistan Yes No No No No No No
Bangladesh Yes * * * * * *
Bhutan ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Cambodia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
China Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hong Kong Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
India Yes Yes # # # # No
Indonesia Yes No No No No No No
Japan # # # # # # No
Kazakhstan # # # # # # *
Kyrgyzstan # # # # # # *
Laos Yes No No No No No No
Malaysia * * * No No No No
Mongolia Restricted Restricted * * * * *
Myanmar Yes No No No No No No
Nepal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes * *
North Korea Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pakistan Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Philippines Yes No No No No No No
Singapore Yes Yes Yes # # # #
South Korea Restricted Restricted Restricted Restricted Restricted Restricted Restricted
Sri Lanka Yes No No No No No No
Tajikistan # # # # # # *
Thailand Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Turkmenistan # # # # # # *
Uzbekistan # # # # # # *
Vietnam Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


Caribbean |-
!To Protect Mother's Life!!Physical Health!!Mental Health!!Rape!!Fetal Defects!!Socio-economic factors!!On Demand
Antigua * No No No No No No
Bahamas Yes Yes Yes ? ? No No
Barbados Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Cuba Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dominican Republic Yes No No No No No No
Grenada Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Haiti Yes ? No ? ? No No
Jamaica Restricted Restricted Restricted No No No No
Puerto Rico Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Saint Kitts Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Saint Lucia Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Trinidad and Tobago Yes Yes Yes No No No No


Europe |-
!To Protect Mother's Life!!Physical Health!!Mental Health!!Rape!!Fetal Defects!!Socio-economic factors!!On Demand
Albania Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Andorra Yes No No No No No No
Armenia # # # # # # *
Austria Yes Yes Yes * Yes * * (illegal, but not punished)
Azerbaijan Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes *
Belgium Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Belarus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bulgaria Yes # * * Yes * *
Croatia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cyprus Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? No
Czech Republic # # * * # * *
Denmark Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Estonia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Finland Yes Yes Yes # # # No
France Yes Yes Yes * Yes * *
Georgia (country)|Georgia # # # # # # *
Germany Yes Yes Yes * No No * (illegal, but not punished)
Greece Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hungary Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Iceland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Ireland Yes No No No No No No
Italy Yes Yes Yes * Yes * *
Latvia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Liechtenstein Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Lithuania Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Luxembourg Restricted Restricted Restricted Restricted Restricted Restricted No
Republic of Macedonia|Macedonia (F.Y.R.) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Malta No No No No No No No
Moldova Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes *
Monaco Yes No No No No No No
Netherlands Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Norway Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Poland Yes Yes * * * No No
Portugal * * * * * No No
Romania Yes Yes * * * * *
Russia # # # # # # *
San Marino Yes No No No No No No
Serbia and Montenegro Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Slovakia # # * # # * *
Slovenia Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Spain Yes Yes Yes * # No No
Sweden Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Switzerland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes * *
Turkey Restricted Restricted Restricted * Restricted * *
Ukraine # # # # # # *
United Kingdom Yes # # No Yes # No
Vatican City No No No No No No No


Middle East |-
!To Protect Mother's Life!!Physical Health!!Mental Health!!Rape!!Fetal Defects!!Socio-economic factors!!On Demand
Bahrain Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Iran Yes No No No No No No
Iraq Restricted No No No Restricted No No
Israel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Jordan Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Kuwait Restricted Restricted Restricted No Restricted No No
Lebanon Yes No No No No No No
Oman Yes No No No No No No
Qatar Yes Yes Yes No Restricted No No
Saudi Arabia * Restricted Restricted No No No No
Syria Restricted No No No No No No
United Arab Emirates Restricted No No No No No No
Yemen Yes No No No No No No


North & Central America
!To Protect Mother's Life!!Physical Health!!Mental Health!!Rape!!Fetal Defects!!Socio-economic factors!!On Demand
Belize Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Canada Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Costa Rica Yes Yes ? No No No No
El Salvador No No No No No No No
Guatemala Yes No No No No No No
Honduras Restricted No No No No No No
Mexico * No No * No No No
Nicaragua Yes ? No No No No No
Panama Yes Yes No * Yes No No
United States Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Varies


Oceania
!To Protect Mother's Life!!Physical Health!!Mental Health!!Rape!!Fetal Defects!!Socio-economic factors!!On Demand
Australia Yes Varies Varies Varies Varies Varies Varies
Brunei Yes No No No No No No
Cook Islands Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Fiji Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes No
Kiribati Yes No No No No No No
Maldives Restricted Restricted No No No No No
Marshall Islands Restricted No No No No No No
Micronesia Yes No No No No No No
Nauru Restricted Restricted Restricted No No No No
New Zealand Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Niue Yes ? ? No No No No
Palau Yes No No No No No No
Papua New Guinea * * * No No No No
Samoa Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Solomon Islands Restricted No No No No No No
Tonga Yes No No No No No No
Tuvalu Yes No No No No No No
Vanuatu No Yes Yes No No No No


South America |-
!To Protect Mother's Life!!Physical Health!!Mental Health!!Rape!!Fetal Defects!!Socio-economic factors!!On Demand
Argentina Yes Yes No Restricted No No No
Bolivia Yes Yes ? Yes No No No
Brazil Yes No No Yes No No No
Chile No No No No No No No
Colombia Yes No No No No No No
Dominica Yes No No No No No No
Ecuador Yes Yes ? Restricted No No No
Guyana Yes * * * * * *
Paraguay Yes No No No No No No
Peru Yes Yes Yes No No No No
Suriname Yes No No No No No No
Uruguay Yes Yes * * No * No
Venezuela Yes No No No No No No







  • Abortion

  • Abortion in Australia

  • Abortion in Brazil

  • Abortion in Canada

  • Abortion in Chile

  • Abortion in Finland

  • Abortion in France

  • Abortion in Germany

  • Abortion in Ireland

  • Abortion in the Netherlands

  • Abortion in New Zealand

  • Abortion in Sweden

  • Abortion in the United Kingdom

  • Abortion in the United States

  • History of abortion

  • Mexico City Policy

  • Morality and legality of abortion

  • Religion and abortion

  • Roe v. Wade

  • Roe effect






  • http://annualreview.law.harvard.edu/population/abortion/abortionlaws.htm Abortion Laws of the World

  • http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/abortion Abortion Policies: A Global Review

  • http://www.crlp.org/pub_fac_abortion_laws.html Center for Reproductive Rights: The World's Abortion Laws

  • http://www.pregnantpause.org/lex/world02.htm Pregnant Pause: Summary of Abortion Laws Around the World


Category:Abortion
Category:Abortion law|*


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Abortion law".


Last Modified:   2005-12-23


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