A Look at Abortion Laws Around the Globe

In a historic debate that lasted for 23 hours, Argentina’s Congress on 15th June 2018 modified its abortion laws. Joyous crowds took to the street to demonstrate their happiness by dancing and singing.

Abortion should be a choice given to all parents — especially the women, who should be given the power to decide what she wants to do with her body.

Here is a look at Abortion laws around the world taking two countries from each continent.

Argentina: Abortion in Argentina is allowed only when the mother’s life or health is in danger, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape.

Paraguay: In Paraguay, abortion is banned except when the mother’s life is in danger. Anyone who performs an abortion can be sentenced to 15 to 30 months in prison if it is done without the consent of the woman, the punishment is increased to 2 to 5 years. If the woman dies because of the abortion, the person who did the procedure can be sentenced to 4 to 6 years in prison, and 5 to 10 years in cases in which she did not consent.

United States Of America: After the Roe v. Wade case, abortion was legalized nationwide in 1973, it was already legal in several states, but the decision imposed a uniform framework for state legislation on the subject. It established a minimum period during which abortion must be legal. Currently, with a base irrevocable law, the abortion laws differ from state to state in the USA.

Canada: Abortion in Canada is legal at all stages of pregnancy and is governed by the Canada Health Act. While some non-legal obstacles exist, Canada is one of only a few nations with no legal restrictions on abortion. Regulations and accessibility vary between provinces.

Sudan: In 1991 Sudan expanded the circumstances under which abortions are permitted within 90 days (around 3 months) after conception to include rape, a great leap considering the colossal number of rapes taking place in the conflicted region of Darfur but this law had many loopholes thus preventing victims from taking full advantage of the law. Sudan is currently not giving much attention to a woman’s right to abortion. Medical personnel continue to risk arrest each time they perform an illegal abortion on rape victims.

Nigeria: Abortion in Nigeria is illegal and carries a jail sentence to 14 years unless it is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman. Nevertheless, a large number of unapparent abortions continue to be carried out regularly, often with grave consequences for the lives and health of the women involved.

Turkey: Abortion has been legal, permitting abortion under all circumstances in the first trimester of the pregnancy in Turkey since 1983, yet many women weren’t aware of this provision. Also, married women require the permission of their spouses for getting an abortion.

France: Voluntary abortion is legal without restrictions until the 12th week of pregnancy, while the medical interruption of pregnancy can be performed up to the very end if there is a serious threat to the life of the mother or a grave abnormality in the fetus. Abortion is considered the right of every woman, regardless of her motives. Since April 2016, related medical expenses such as blood tests, sonograms and painkillers have also been reimbursed.

India: Abortion is legal up until 12 to 20 weeks after conception Or if continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to either the mother or the baby’s life but only after approval from the courts. Any woman seeking abortion requires the medical opinion of at least two doctors, Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.

Saudi Arabia: Abortion is generally illegal in Saudi Arabia, with only a very restricted exception. Abortion is only legal if it will save the woman’s life or if the pregnancy afflicts the woman’s physical and/or mental health.

AustraliaThere is no concrete law binding the entire nation, but state laws governing the practice of abortion in Australia. Certain states like the Australian Capital Territory abortion is legal as well as accessible. In Queensland, abortion is legal up to 22 weeks if the women’s life is in danger.

New Zealand: Abortion is legal in only if the mother faces a danger to her life, physical or mental health, or if there is a risk of the child being handicapped in the event of the continuation of her pregnancy. The legislation that governs abortions is contained within various sections of the Crimes Act 1961 and the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977.

Abortion empowers women to take control of their body. Many governments have failed to give this sovereignty to the women of their country. Many groups debate against Abortion along the lines of religion, but I believe that in the end, the life of the child and/or the mother is more important.

I also believe there is no meaning to bringing a child into the world when one is not be emotionally equipped to take care of them.

Photo: Edward Cisneros via Unsplash

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