Abortion Law Around the World

A worldview is a powerful concept because the collection of values that make up an individual’s worldview is the foundation of nearly every individual’s belief. When individuals live and operate together, they begin to share common values. Those shared values shape the values of communities, countries, and even continents.

There are clear variations of values worldwide, and the variation of values plays a significant role in the area’s legislation. The legislation of abortion varies around the world, and the interpretations often reflect the communal values of the area.

There are many areas of the world where unborn life is valued and protected. We encourage you to continue to pray for the sanctity of life in those areas. There are also many areas of the world where unborn life is not seen as valuable. This article can serve as a reference point for you to regularly pray for the sanctity of life within the different nations and continents of the world. 

Today, 6 in 10 women of reproductive age live in countries that broadly allow abortion. Every unborn child in every single nation is deeply loved and valued by God.

Abortion Law in Africa

Abortion is permitted in 44 of 54 African countries. Each country has variations of its abortion laws, but abortion is widely accessible for most African women. Zambia, Cape Verde, South Africa, and Tunisia have the most liberal abortion laws, where there is little to no restriction on abortion access whatsoever. Other countries have some variations of abortion restrictions.

The pregnancy rates in Sub-Saharan Africa are the highest of any region in the world, averaging 281 pregnancies of every 1000 women per year. 

Abortion Law in Asia

Abortion is broadly legal in China and India, the two most densely populated countries. Both of these countries hold liberal abortion laws, offering ease of abortion access in nearly every populated area.

Seventeen of the fifty countries in Asia allow abortion without restriction, whereas there are limits to abortion access in the remaining thirty-three countries.

Abortion is not permitted under any circumstances in the following countries: Iraq, Laos, and the Phillippines.

Abortion Law in Australia

Abortion procedures within the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy are legal in every area of the country. As of March 2021, all abortion has been decriminalized in the country, as South Australia passed the Termination of Pregnancy Bill.

Abortion is widely available in every territory and state of Australia. Like Western Australia, late-term abortions are more difficult to access in some areas. However, many abortion providers will approve late-term abortions in every area.

Abortion Law in Europe

The legislation of abortion in most European countries shows some degree of support for abortion. Forty-one European countries currently permit abortion for broad reasons at least in the first three months of pregnancy.

Six European countries protect preborn life under the law by not allowing abortion on demand. The small archipelago country of Malta has completely banned abortion since 1724, and the country’s president (a former medical doctor) has stated he “will never sign a bill that involves the authorization of murder.”  

However, even in countries with legal safeguards against abortion, many women opt for abortion outside of their borderlines.

Abortion Law in North America

In the United States, 43 states prohibit abortion after a specified time in the pregnancy. Twelve states currently prohibit the use of medical insurance to cover the cost of abortions. Thirteen states do not require parental involvement for a minor’s decision to have an abortion. Abortion is allowed at some capacity in every state in the US, but every state has variations in the legality of access.

There is no federal law addressing abortion throughout Canada, meaning abortion is legal at all stages of pregnancy. Ultimately, provinces have the power to dictate abortion access. Nationwide, abortion is a publically-funded medical service, and all provinces allow abortion, even in the third trimester.

Abortion Law in South America

Abortion law varies significantly from country to country in South America. However, 97% of South American women live in areas where there are some restrictions to abortion. Abortion is not allowed in six countries, with some of those countries only allowing abortion in the instance of rape.

The proportion of all pregnancies in South America ending in abortion increased between 1990–1994 and 2010–2014, from 23% to 32%.

Our Response

As men and women dedicated to promoting the Sanctity of Human Life, we must remain aware of the changing international trends and legislation. Our awareness must draw us to prayer and action.

First, we must pray passionately and specifically for each country and continent to understand the value and personhood of unborn life.

Second, we must strategically partner with organizations and churches to make abortion an unthinkable option worldwide. We must be willing to use our talents and resources to partner with God’s work to end abortion around the world.

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