Countries Where Abortion Is Illegal 2021

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Abortion has always been a controversial subject. While many people believe that it is a woman's right to choose whether or not she elects to have an abortion, others have religious, political, emotional, and personal morals that lead them to believe that having an abortion is wrong. It all comes down to various upbringing, ethics, religious backgrounds, political alignments, and other attributes that play into forming opinions. Because of these factors and more, abortion rates vary significantly between nations.

Around the world, some countries have taken away the woman's right to choose and have decided for all women by making abortion illegal. When the government gets involved in abortion, there is no longer the option for women to ultimately decide what happens to their bodies, should they ever become pregnant. Whether or not pregnancy is planned, thousands of women are faced with the situation of deciding between having a baby or scheduling an appointment for an abortion.

The laws regarding abortion are diverse and vary by country. There are currently twenty-six countries where all abortions are illegal, regardless of if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. In 37 countries, abortion is illegal unless it saves the mother's life, and in others, it is illegal unless used to save the mother's life or preserve her health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported on the number of abortions performed in all countries, whether abortion is legal or illegal. According to the World Health Organization findings, the legality of abortion across the world has little to no effect on how many abortions occur every year. The legality of abortion, however, does affect the number of safe abortions women are having.

Abortions take place all over the world, with a few very rare exceptions. In Latin America, the trio of countries with restricted access to abortions in entirety is El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. The Vatican City in Europe decided that the country's citizens are not allowed to receive abortions, just like the anti-abortion countries in Latin America. In Europe, the country of Malta is similar to Vatican City in that abortions are illegal, but there's one exception to the abortion law in Malta.

According to the government of Malta, abortions can be performed if they are necessary to save the would-be mother's life. Pregnancies often do not go as planned, in that health concerns or medical emergencies can arise during pregnancy, as well as at birth. The focus of the government of Malta's exception to their country's abortion law is the instance in which a mother's health might be at risk during pregnancy.

An example of this is when a woman becomes pregnant. Still, the embryo does not grow within the mother's uterus, but rather, either in a different organ or just outside the uterus. Either way, these situations are called ectopic pregnancies, and they are fatal for women if the pregnancies are allowed to endure. Abortion is the only option in this scenario, and in Malta, abortion in this situation would be legal.

Here is a brief breakdown of some of the larger countries around the world and their respective perspectives on terminating pregnancies, laws regarding abortions to date, or bans placed on abortion throughout the years.

Brazil

This Latin American country has not completely restricted abortions, but they are not available for any woman or just any reason. The option to choose what is best for her body is not a right provided to women in Brazil. Instead, abortions are only legal for women who have been raped by an assailant they do not know, as well as rape or sexual activity with a family member. Additionally, if the pregnant woman's life is at stake due to the pregnancy, she will be able to pursue the procedure.

Canada

Abortions are no longer illegal in Canada, though they were banned until the year 1988. The government of this North American country has since then reversed the laws that once made abortions illegal. Deemed as unconstitutional with respect to the foundation upon which Canada was established, Canada is also known for having free healthcare for Canadian citizens.

Abortions fall under the services that the national healthcare covers, but this is only applicable if the abortions are performed in hospitals. If you were to go to a clinic, like Planned Parenthood, then Canadian citizens might run into a situation where they would have to individually pay for their abortions.

Russia

As the largest country in the world, Russia is the country that leads in the number of abortions performed on an annual basis. Russia has the highest number of abortions performed per year, and there are no laws against abortions in Russia when the pregnancy is less than twelve weeks in length up until 2003. After that point, the Russian government extended the period during which abortions are legal, up until twenty-two weeks of pregnancy.

Reasons that constitute abortions in Russia include rape, health risks to the pregnant woman, imprisonment of the woman, the risk of death for the mom or the baby, and physical or mental disabilities to the fetus that put the unborn baby in a dangerous position.

The table below has each country's abortion law. Note that this is a general list of laws, and every country has more specific rules and exceptions.

  • Prohibited altogether: Abortion is banned
  • To save a woman's life: Abortion is allowed when it saves the mother's life
  • To preserve physical health: Abortion is allowed when it saves the mother's life and/or preserves her physical health
  • To preserve physical/mental health: Abortion is allowed when it saves the mother's life and/or preserves her physical or mental health
  • To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds: Abortion is allowed when it saves the mother's life, preserves her physical or mental health, and for socio-economic reasons
  • No restriction: Abortion is restricted to a specified reason to get one, but gestational and other requirements apply.

Countries Where Abortion Is Illegal 2021

Country Abortion on Request Population 2021
AfghanistanTo save a woman's life39,835,428
AlbaniaNo restriction2,872,933
AlgeriaTo preserve physical/mental health44,616,624
AndorraProhibited altogether77,355
AngolaProhibited altogether33,933,610
Antigua And BarbudaTo save a woman's life98,731
ArgentinaTo preserve physical health45,605,826
ArmeniaNo restriction2,968,127
AustraliaNo restriction25,788,215
AustriaNo restriction9,043,070
AzerbaijanNo restriction10,223,342
BahamasTo preserve physical health396,913
BahrainNo restriction1,748,296
BangladeshTo save a woman's life166,303,498
BarbadosTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds287,711
BelarusNo restriction9,442,862
BelgiumNo restriction11,632,326
BelizeTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds404,914
BeninTo preserve physical health12,451,040
BhutanTo save a woman's life779,898
BoliviaTo preserve physical health11,832,940
Bosnia And HerzegovinaNo restriction3,263,466
BotswanaTo preserve physical/mental health2,397,241
BrazilTo save a woman's life213,993,437
BulgariaNo restriction6,896,663
Burkina FasoTo preserve physical health21,497,096
BurundiTo preserve physical health12,255,433
CambodiaNo restriction16,946,438
CameroonTo preserve physical health27,224,265
CanadaNo restriction38,067,903
Cape VerdeNo restriction561,898
Central African RepublicTo preserve physical health4,919,981
ChadTo preserve physical health16,914,985
ChileTo save a woman's life19,212,361
ColombiaTo preserve physical/mental health51,265,844
ComorosTo preserve physical health888,451
Costa RicaTo preserve physical health5,139,052
CroatiaNo restriction4,081,651
CubaNo restriction11,317,505
CyprusTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds1,215,584
Czech RepublicNo restriction10,724,555
DenmarkNo restriction5,813,298
DjiboutiTo preserve physical health1,002,187
DominicaTo save a woman's life72,167
Dominican RepublicProhibited altogether10,953,703
Dr CongoProhibited altogether92,377,993
EcuadorTo preserve physical health17,888,475
EgyptProhibited altogether104,258,327
El SalvadorProhibited altogether6,518,499
Equatorial GuineaTo preserve physical health1,449,896
EritreaTo preserve physical/mental health3,601,467
EstoniaNo restriction1,325,185
EthiopiaTo preserve physical health117,876,227
FijiTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds902,906
FinlandTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds5,548,360
FranceNo restriction65,426,179
GabonProhibited altogether2,278,825
GambiaTo preserve physical/mental health2,486,945
GermanyNo restriction83,900,473
GhanaTo preserve physical/mental health31,732,129
GreeceNo restriction10,370,744
GrenadaTo preserve physical health113,021
GuatemalaTo save a woman's life18,249,860
GuineaTo preserve physical health13,497,244
GuyanaNo restriction790,326
HaitiProhibited altogether11,541,685
HondurasProhibited altogether10,062,991
Hong KongTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds7,552,810
HungaryNo restriction9,634,164
IcelandTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds343,353
IndiaTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds1,393,409,038
IndonesiaTo save a woman's life276,361,783
IranTo save a woman's life85,028,759
IraqProhibited altogether41,179,350
IrelandTo save a woman's life4,982,907
IsraelTo preserve physical/mental health8,789,774
ItalyNo restriction60,367,477
Ivory CoastTo save a woman's life27,053,629
JamaicaTo preserve physical/mental health2,973,463
JapanTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds126,050,804
JordanTo preserve physical health10,269,021
KazakhstanNo restriction18,994,962
KenyaTo preserve physical health54,985,698
KiribatiTo save a woman's life121,392
KuwaitTo preserve physical health4,328,550
KyrgyzstanNo restriction6,628,356
LaosProhibited altogether7,379,358
LatviaNo restriction1,866,942
LebanonTo save a woman's life6,769,146
LesothoTo preserve physical health2,159,079
LiberiaTo preserve physical/mental health5,180,203
LibyaTo save a woman's life6,958,532
LiechtensteinTo preserve physical health38,250
LithuaniaNo restriction2,689,862
LuxembourgNo restriction634,814
MadagascarProhibited altogether28,427,328
MalawiTo save a woman's life19,647,684
MalaysiaTo preserve physical/mental health32,776,194
MaldivesTo preserve physical health543,617
MaliTo save a woman's life20,855,735
MaltaProhibited altogether442,784
Marshall IslandsProhibited altogether59,610
MauritaniaProhibited altogether4,775,119
MauritiusTo preserve physical/mental health1,273,433
MexicoTo save a woman's life130,262,216
MicronesiaProhibited altogether116,254
MoldovaNo restriction4,024,019
MonacoTo preserve physical health39,511
MongoliaNo restriction3,329,289
MontenegroNo restriction628,053
MoroccoTo preserve physical health37,344,795
MozambiqueTo preserve physical/mental health32,163,047
MyanmarTo save a woman's life54,806,012
NamibiaTo preserve physical/mental health2,587,344
NauruTo preserve physical/mental health10,876
NepalNo restriction29,674,920
NetherlandsNo restriction17,173,099
New ZealandTo preserve physical/mental health4,860,643
NicaraguaProhibited altogether6,702,385
NigerTo preserve physical health25,130,817
NigeriaTo save a woman's life211,400,708
North KoreaNo restriction25,887,041
NorwayNo restriction5,465,630
OmanTo save a woman's life5,223,375
PakistanTo preserve physical health225,199,937
PalauProhibited altogether18,169
PanamaTo save a woman's life4,381,579
Papua New GuineaTo save a woman's life9,119,010
ParaguayTo save a woman's life7,219,638
PeruTo preserve physical health33,359,418
PhilippinesProhibited altogether111,046,913
PolandTo preserve physical health37,797,005
PortugalNo restriction10,167,925
QatarTo preserve physical health2,930,528
Republic Of The CongoProhibited altogether5,657,013
RomaniaNo restriction19,127,774
RussiaNo restriction145,912,025
RwandaTo preserve physical health13,276,513
Saint Kitts And NevisTo preserve physical/mental health53,544
Saint LuciaTo preserve physical/mental health184,400
Saint Vincent And The GrenadinesTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds111,263
SamoaTo preserve physical/mental health200,149
San MarinoProhibited altogether34,017
Sao Tome And PrincipeProhibited altogether223,368
Saudi ArabiaTo preserve physical health35,340,683
SenegalProhibited altogether17,196,301
SerbiaNo restriction8,697,550
SeychellesTo preserve physical/mental health98,908
Sierra LeoneTo preserve physical/mental health8,141,343
SingaporeNo restriction5,896,686
SlovakiaNo restriction5,460,721
SloveniaNo restriction2,078,724
Solomon IslandsTo save a woman's life703,996
SomaliaTo save a woman's life16,359,504
South AfricaNo restriction60,041,994
South KoreaTo preserve physical health51,305,186
South SudanTo save a woman's life11,381,378
SpainNo restriction46,745,216
Sri LankaTo save a woman's life21,497,310
SudanTo save a woman's life44,909,353
SurinameProhibited altogether591,800
SwedenNo restriction10,160,169
SwitzerlandNo restriction8,715,494
SyriaTo save a woman's life18,275,702
TaiwanTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds23,855,010
TajikistanNo restriction9,749,627
TanzaniaTo save a woman's life61,498,437
ThailandTo preserve physical/mental health69,950,850
Timor LesteTo save a woman's life1,343,873
TogoTo preserve physical health8,478,250
TongaProhibited altogether106,760
Trinidad And TobagoTo preserve physical/mental health1,403,375
TunisiaNo restriction11,935,766
TurkeyNo restriction85,042,738
TurkmenistanNo restriction6,117,924
TuvaluTo save a woman's life11,931
UgandaTo save a woman's life47,123,531
UkraineNo restriction43,466,819
United Arab EmiratesTo save a woman's life9,991,089
United KingdomTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds68,207,116
United StatesNo restriction332,915,073
UruguayNo restriction3,485,151
UzbekistanNo restriction33,935,763
VanuatuTo preserve physical health314,464
VenezuelaTo save a woman's life28,704,954
VietnamNo restriction98,168,833
YemenTo save a woman's life30,490,640
ZambiaTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds18,920,651
ZimbabweTo preserve physical health15,092,171

Countries Where Abortion Is Illegal 2021