Summary of 2012 Global Abortion Laws

As abortion, reproductive freedom and the power to choose continue to be hot topics during the 2012 presidential election (even though it is soon coming to a close), it is also interesting to know what laws concerning abortion exists in different nations. The Center for Reproductive Rights have created an interactive world map that does just that, compares and explain abortion laws all over the world.

The map provides interesting information in different ways:

Country icon key: Different icons express the conditions under which abortion is allowed or prohibited. There are many icons (all explained on the website), but here are a few examples.

R – rape
F – fetal impairment
MH – mental health
I –incest
SA – spousal authorization needed
PA – parental authorization needed

For example, in the United Arab Emirates, both spousal authorization and parental authorization is needed for an abortion. In Iraq, the icon NE describes that the “law does not make an explicit exception to save a woman’s life”. In Argentina abortion is permitted in cases of rape, whereas France have a gestational limit of 14 weeks and New Zealand concludes that abortion is permitted in cases of incest, fetal impairment and to preserve a woman’s mental health.

Country color key: Generally groups countries based on their overall abortion stance.

Red – abortion is permitted only to save a woman’s life or prohibited altogether.
Orange – abortion is permitted to preserve health.
Tan/Beige – socioeconomic grounds
Green – without restriction as to reason for abortion.

When first clicking on a continent, then a country, you can learn about that specific country’s laws concerning abortion. Using Ireland as an example (where abortion is permitted only to save a woman’s life), you may also read more about the specifics of Ireland and how ECHR states that Ireland violates the European convention on human rights.

The map is really a smart way to gather and distribute information about abortion and to make it both easy to understand and available.

Photo of map depicting the world was uploaded by flickr user Marty Wright and shared under a creative commons license. 

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