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Abortion Laws of The World

Abortion laws differ all across the world. The practice is controversial in many countries, as the governments continue to try to find and maintain balance between the rights of an unborn fetus and the rights of a woman.

United Kingdom

According to Harvard University the abortion laws in the United Kingdom are fairly lenient. As long as the pregnancy has not entered the 24th week, any pregnancy may be terminated for any reason. After the 24th week, there must be a medical reason—either the health of the mother or the child—in order for an abortion to be granted.

The American Historical Review takes a look at abortion law reform in Britain during the 1930’s.


Havard University provides a look at Brazilian law in Spanish.

Pew Forum provides overviews of the abortion laws in many countries in Latin America. In Brazil, it is not allowed at all except for cases of incest, rape, or endangerment of the mother.


Wikipedia shows that abortion in Japan has been legal under special circumstances since 1948.

This article about Birth Control and Abortion in Japan states that abortion is legal within the first 22 weeks of pregnancy, and Buddist temples have a ceremony for mourning the soul of the aborted child.


Life Site News shares the Chinese policy of using abortion as a form of population control.

China In Transition shares the news that sex selection abortions are now illegal in China.


Cyber Law provides Mexican abortion laws in Spanish.

CNN shares the story that the highest court voted 8-3 to uphold a woman’s right to abortion.


Pew Forum tells us that abortion is legal for any reason at any point in the pregnancy and has been since 1988 when the government ruled abortion laws unconstitutional.

Family Law states that though abortion is not a crime in Canada, there is a grey area in the law surrounding it.


The Center for Reproductive Rights

Womensphere shares the laws of many countries. In India, abortions are legal until 12 weeks. Between 12 and 20 weeks the abortion must be deemed medically necessary. For those who are under 18 or mentally unstable, signatures of a guardian are required.

United States

BBC News shares a story about South Dakota making abortions illegal except in special circumstances.

Touro Law School gives the text of the Roe v. Wade case that first legalized abortion in the United States in 1973. provides information on the history of abortion laws in the United States.

Utah State shows the text of the state bill prohibiting abortions unless medically necessary.

Bridge Water provides a .pdf file that overviews the abortion laws in the United States.

Additional Information

Pregnancy Pause provides a map with a color code to show the abortion laws of every country around the world.

Babel Fish translates various languages, for those who are interested in the laws provided in native languages.

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Further Reading

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