Abortion around the World

Since 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that existing abortion restrictions were unconstitutional, abortion has been legal for any reason at any stage of pregnancy. Provincial health insurance plans cover the cost of abortions performed in hospitals but do not consistently provide funding for abortions performed in free-standing clinics.

The Swedish Abortion Act of 1975 gives all women the right to an abortion up to the 18th week of pregnancy. This right applies no matter the reason and the pregnant person is always the one who decides whether or not to have an abortion. An abortion costs the same as an ordinary visit to a physician.

Although a 1995 law makes abortion illegal, neither doctors nor women are prosecuted if the mother is a victim of rape and the procedure is performed within 12 weeks of conception. A similar waiver exists in the first trimester for cases in which the mother has received counseling to encourage carrying her baby to term but still wants an abortion. After the first trimester, abortion is available only to preserve the life or mental or physical health of the mother. State insurance generally does not pay for the procedure except in cases of financial need.

Great Britain
Abortion is freely available in Great Britain due to a broad interpretation of the Abortion Act of 1967, which permits abortion for a variety of reasons if certified by two physicians. Within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, these reasons may include: to save the life of the mother, to protect her physical or mental health, to terminate pregnancies involving fetal abnormality, or for social or economic reasons. In cases in which the mother’s life or health is “gravely threatened” or there is significant risk for fetal abnormality, there is no time limit on when an abortion may be performed. Currently, the British Parliament is considering legislation that would eliminate the requirement of two doctors’ approval before an abortion can be performed. It is estimated that about 200,000 abortions are performed in Great Britain each year.

Abortion law in Spain legalizes the procedure at any point during pregnancy in cases in which the mother’s life or physical or mental health is at risk. Abortion is also allowed within 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases of rape and within 22 weeks of pregnancy in cases of fetal impairment

According to a law passed in 1993, abortion is legal in Poland throughout pregnancy to preserve the life or physical health the mother. During the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, abortion is also allowed in circumstances of rape, incest or fetal abnormality.

South Africa
Since 1996, abortion has been available without restrictions in South Africa within the first trimester of pregnancy if the mother’s physical or mental health is at risk, if the pregnancy compromises the mother’s social or economic situation, or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

A 1977 law made abortion legal in Israel to save the mother’s life or to preserve her mental or physical health. Abortion is also allowed in cases of rape, incest or fetal impairment, as well as in cases involving a wide range of difficult social circumstances.

Japan’s Eugenic Protection Law, passed in 1948, promoted liberal policies on abortion and sterilization with the intent of fostering a genetically healthy population. In 1996, new legislation omitted all references to eugenics and established regulations making abortion legal within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy to save the mother’s life or to protect her physical health. Abortion is also allowed in cases of rape and for economic or social

United States

Based on a Supreme Court ruling on June 24th, 2022 abortion is no longer a Federally protected right. Each of the 50 States can implement its own laws about abortion as long as they do not conflict with the enumerated rights listed in the Constitution.

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