Tracking the rates of abortion around the world is difficult because many nations do not record or report abortion rates. This is especially true in nations where abortion is illegal, and no types of records are kept.
Studies show that abortion rates may be much higher in nations where abortion is illegal. Because abortion is prohibited, these abortions are illegal abortions, which are more dangerous than legal abortions. There are also higher risks and complications, including the death of the mother, as a result of these illegal abortions.
However, abortion is legal in 58 of 193 member states of the United Nations. Just seven of the UN's member states – Malta, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Chile, Nicaragua, and South Sudan – have made abortion illegal.
One of the most accurate ways to find abortion rates is through the World Abortion Policies reports created by the United Nations. These reports measure the number of abortions performed on women between the ages of 15 to 44. This rate measures the number of abortions per 1,000 women in the country.
One of the nations with the highest rates of abortion is Russia. According to UN reports, Russia's abortion rate is 53.7 per 1,000 women. Vietnam has the second-highest rate at 35.2, followed by Kazakhstan with 35. On the opposite end, Mexico has the lowest abortion rate of 0.1, followed by Portugal with 0.2. Abortion is legal in all of these nations.
The United States has an abortion rate of 20.8 abortions per 1,000 women. A women's right to abortion was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Roe v. Wade. The decision states that the government cannot regulate a women's choice to have an abortion before the fetus's viability. However, abortion laws vary by state, including some that attempt to restrict abortions before viability. Because of different regulations on abortion and other factors, abortion rates also vary significantly between states.
Below is a table of abortion rates by country, according to the United Nations.