Legislation / Court Cases

Present Status of Abortion on Demand Worldwide (8/07)

UN STUDY SHOWS 28% OF COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE PERMIT ABORTION ON DEMAND

A recent United Nations report on international abortion policies reveals that while most countries worldwide allow abortion in extreme cases in order to save the life of the mother, only a minority allow abortion on demand.

The July 2007 report states that abortion on demand is only permitted in 28% of the world's countries. The percentage in the developing world is even lower, where 15% of the countries offer abortion on request.

The percentage of countries that allow abortion due to "foetal impairment" is also a minority with 45% offering the option. There is a strongly marked divide, however, between the wealthier and the poorer regions of the world in regards to this so-called ground for abortion. A total of 84% of the richer regions allow abortion for "foetal impairment," versus only 32% of the poorer regions.

The regions are even more divided over the issue of allowing abortion for economic or social reasons. In the wealthier ones, 78% favour abortion on these grounds, whereas only 19% of the poorer areas permit it. Similarly, in the case of rape or incest, the percentage of wealthy to developing regions is 84% to 37%.

To "preserve mental health" is considered a legitimate excuse by 86% of the wealthier regions, but only a slim 57% majority of the poorer ones permit it on this ground. Similarly, in order to "preserve physical health", the ratio of wealthier-to-poor permission is 88% to 60%. These two reasons are medically vague, however, and they are often interpreted in numerous different ways. As a result, they easily become the legal crack in a country's abortion legislation and often lead to de facto abortion on demand.

The report notes that besides the seven arguments for abortion mentioned above, many countries have additional laws protecting the unborn child. These include, "gestational limits within which abortion may be performed, mandatory waiting period, parental or spousal consent, third-party authorization, the categories of health providers permitted to perform abortions, the types of medical facilities where abortions may be performed and mandatory counselling."

Finally, basing its numbers on 2000 to 2005 statistics, the report states that the world fertility rate is 2.6 children born to each woman during her lifetime. At the same time, there is another sharp divide between the fertility rate of the developing countries (2.9 children per woman) and the wealthier countries (1.6 children per woman).
 
Read World Abortion Policies 2007:
http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/2007_Abortion_Policies_Chart/2007_WallChart.pdf

Related:

UN POPULATION DIVISION ISSUES UPDATED STUDY ON ABORTION POLICIES WORLDWIDE
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2002/jun/02061803.html

UN REPORT TO SHOW FERTILITY RATES WORLDWIDE TO DROP TO BELOW REPLACEMENT
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2003/feb/03020402.html

[16August2007, Elizabeth O'Brien, New York, LifeSiteNews.com]