Countries Where Abortion Is Illegal 2020

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To save a woman's life

No restriction

To preserve physical/mental health

Prohibited altogether

To preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds

To preserve physical health

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.


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.


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.


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 2020

Country Abortion on Request Population 2020
AfghanistanTo save a woman's life38,928,346
AlbaniaNo restriction2,877,797
AlgeriaTo preserve physical/mental health43,851,044
AndorraProhibited altogether77,265
AngolaProhibited altogether32,866,272
Antigua And BarbudaTo save a woman's life97,929
ArgentinaTo preserve physical health45,195,774
ArmeniaNo restriction2,963,243
AustraliaNo restriction25,499,884
AustriaNo restriction9,006,398
AzerbaijanNo restriction10,139,177
BahamasTo preserve physical health393,244
BahrainNo restriction1,701,575
BangladeshTo save a woman's life164,689,383
BarbadosTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds287,375
BelarusNo restriction9,449,323
BelgiumNo restriction11,589,623
BelizeTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds397,628
BeninTo preserve physical health12,123,200
BhutanTo save a woman's life771,608
BoliviaTo preserve physical health11,673,021
Bosnia And HerzegovinaNo restriction3,280,819
BotswanaTo preserve physical/mental health2,351,627
BrazilTo save a woman's life212,559,417
BulgariaNo restriction6,948,445
Burkina FasoTo preserve physical health20,903,273
BurundiTo preserve physical health11,890,784
CambodiaNo restriction16,718,965
CameroonTo preserve physical health26,545,863
CanadaNo restriction37,742,154
Cape VerdeNo restriction555,987
Central African RepublicTo preserve physical health4,829,767
ChadTo preserve physical health16,425,864
ChileTo save a woman's life19,116,201
ColombiaTo preserve physical/mental health50,882,891
ComorosTo preserve physical health869,601
Costa RicaTo preserve physical health5,094,118
CroatiaNo restriction4,105,267
CubaNo restriction11,326,616
CyprusTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds1,207,359
Czech RepublicNo restriction10,708,981
DenmarkNo restriction5,792,202
DjiboutiTo preserve physical health988,000
DominicaTo save a woman's life71,986
Dominican RepublicProhibited altogether10,847,910
Dr CongoProhibited altogether89,561,403
EcuadorTo preserve physical health17,643,054
EgyptProhibited altogether102,334,404
El SalvadorProhibited altogether6,486,205
Equatorial GuineaTo preserve physical health1,402,985
EritreaTo preserve physical/mental health3,546,421
EstoniaNo restriction1,326,535
EthiopiaTo preserve physical health114,963,588
FijiTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds896,445
FinlandTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds5,540,720
FranceNo restriction65,273,511
GabonProhibited altogether2,225,734
GambiaTo preserve physical/mental health2,416,668
GermanyNo restriction83,783,942
GhanaTo preserve physical/mental health31,072,940
GreeceNo restriction10,423,054
GrenadaTo preserve physical health112,523
GuatemalaTo save a woman's life17,915,568
GuineaTo preserve physical health13,132,795
GuyanaNo restriction786,552
HaitiProhibited altogether11,402,528
HondurasProhibited altogether9,904,607
Hong KongTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds7,496,981
HungaryNo restriction9,660,351
IcelandTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds341,243
IndiaTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds1,380,004,385
IndonesiaTo save a woman's life273,523,615
IranTo save a woman's life83,992,949
IraqProhibited altogether40,222,493
IrelandTo save a woman's life4,937,786
IsraelTo preserve physical/mental health8,655,535
ItalyNo restriction60,461,826
Ivory CoastTo save a woman's life26,378,274
JamaicaTo preserve physical/mental health2,961,167
JapanTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds126,476,461
JordanTo preserve physical health10,203,134
KazakhstanNo restriction18,776,707
KenyaTo preserve physical health53,771,296
KiribatiTo save a woman's life119,449
KuwaitTo preserve physical health4,270,571
KyrgyzstanNo restriction6,524,195
LaosProhibited altogether7,275,560
LatviaNo restriction1,886,198
LebanonTo save a woman's life6,825,445
LesothoTo preserve physical health2,142,249
LiberiaTo preserve physical/mental health5,057,681
LibyaTo save a woman's life6,871,292
LiechtensteinTo preserve physical health38,128
LithuaniaNo restriction2,722,289
LuxembourgNo restriction625,978
MadagascarProhibited altogether27,691,018
MalawiTo save a woman's life19,129,952
MalaysiaTo preserve physical/mental health32,365,999
MaldivesTo preserve physical health540,544
MaliTo save a woman's life20,250,833
MaltaProhibited altogether441,543
Marshall IslandsProhibited altogether59,190
MauritaniaProhibited altogether4,649,658
MauritiusTo preserve physical/mental health1,271,768
MexicoTo save a woman's life128,932,753
MicronesiaProhibited altogether115,023
MoldovaNo restriction4,033,963
MonacoTo preserve physical health39,242
MongoliaNo restriction3,278,290
MontenegroNo restriction628,066
MoroccoTo preserve physical health36,910,560
MozambiqueTo preserve physical/mental health31,255,435
MyanmarTo save a woman's life54,409,800
NamibiaTo preserve physical/mental health2,540,905
NauruTo preserve physical/mental health10,824
NepalNo restriction29,136,808
NetherlandsNo restriction17,134,872
New ZealandTo preserve physical/mental health4,822,233
NicaraguaProhibited altogether6,624,554
NigerTo preserve physical health24,206,644
NigeriaTo save a woman's life206,139,589
North KoreaNo restriction25,778,816
NorwayNo restriction5,421,241
OmanTo save a woman's life5,106,626
PakistanTo preserve physical health220,892,340
PalauProhibited altogether18,094
PanamaTo save a woman's life4,314,767
Papua New GuineaTo save a woman's life8,947,024
ParaguayTo save a woman's life7,132,538
PeruTo preserve physical health32,971,854
PhilippinesProhibited altogether109,581,078
PolandTo preserve physical health37,846,611
PortugalNo restriction10,196,709
QatarTo preserve physical health2,881,053
Republic Of The CongoProhibited altogether5,518,087
RomaniaNo restriction19,237,691
RussiaNo restriction145,934,462
RwandaTo preserve physical health12,952,218
Saint Kitts And NevisTo preserve physical/mental health53,199
Saint LuciaTo preserve physical/mental health183,627
Saint Vincent And The GrenadinesTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds110,940
SamoaTo preserve physical/mental health198,414
San MarinoProhibited altogether33,931
Sao Tome And PrincipeProhibited altogether219,159
Saudi ArabiaTo preserve physical health34,813,871
SenegalProhibited altogether16,743,927
SerbiaNo restriction8,737,371
SeychellesTo preserve physical/mental health98,347
Sierra LeoneTo preserve physical/mental health7,976,983
SingaporeNo restriction5,850,342
SlovakiaNo restriction5,459,642
SloveniaNo restriction2,078,938
Solomon IslandsTo save a woman's life686,884
SomaliaTo save a woman's life15,893,222
South AfricaNo restriction59,308,690
South KoreaTo preserve physical health51,269,185
South SudanTo save a woman's life11,193,725
SpainNo restriction46,754,778
Sri LankaTo save a woman's life21,413,249
SudanTo save a woman's life43,849,260
SurinameProhibited altogether586,632
SwedenNo restriction10,099,265
SwitzerlandNo restriction8,654,622
SyriaTo save a woman's life17,500,658
TaiwanTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds23,816,775
TajikistanNo restriction9,537,645
TanzaniaTo save a woman's life59,734,218
ThailandTo preserve physical/mental health69,799,978
Timor LesteTo save a woman's life1,318,445
TogoTo preserve physical health8,278,724
TongaProhibited altogether105,695
Trinidad And TobagoTo preserve physical/mental health1,399,488
TunisiaNo restriction11,818,619
TurkeyNo restriction84,339,067
TurkmenistanNo restriction6,031,200
TuvaluTo save a woman's life11,792
UgandaTo save a woman's life45,741,007
UkraineNo restriction43,733,762
United Arab EmiratesTo save a woman's life9,890,402
United KingdomTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds67,886,011
United StatesNo restriction331,002,651
UruguayNo restriction3,473,730
UzbekistanNo restriction33,469,203
VanuatuTo preserve physical health307,145
VenezuelaTo save a woman's life28,435,940
VietnamNo restriction97,338,579
YemenTo save a woman's life29,825,964
ZambiaTo preserve health/on socioeconomic grounds18,383,955
ZimbabweTo preserve physical health14,862,924

Countries Where Abortion Is Illegal 2020