Abortion Laws Around the World
Writer: Renata Daou Editor: Mikada Green Graphic Designer: Heidi Wong
After months of speculation, the United States Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. This legal case initially took place in 1973, with the U.S. Supreme Court deciding that the Constitution of the United States protects women’s liberty to abort. This case generated immense debate among US citizens and political parties regarding the morality of abortion. The discussions also often included political opinions and religious views.
Justice Samuel Alito, who currently holds a position on the U.S. Supreme Court bench, said that the 1973 Roe decision "must be overruled.” He claimed that the arguments in the case were weak, wrong, and damaging. There has been speculation about the overturning of Roe v. Wade since early May, after the initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito that was obtained and published by POLITICO. Because of the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, half of the states will restrict or completely roll back abortion rights. This decision has significant implications for the United States.
According to a study by the University of California presented in an article by Scientific American, abortions do not harm women; instead, those who do not have access to abortion are harmed. In addition, there are overall more significant complications from childbirth than from abortion.
Not having an abortion could also mean long-lasting adverse effects on families’ finances. The research found that families that were denied abortions experienced greater bankruptcies, evictions, and more debt than those who were granted their right to abortion.
According to Forbes, the overturning of Roe v. Wade means an enormous impact on the economy. In their study, women denied abortions were three times more likely to be unemployed after six months than women who were able to get an abortion.
Furthermore, in the Turnaway Study, children born due to a woman’s denial of their right to abortion are more likely to be below the poverty level compared to children born from a woman who received an abortion and later decided to carry a subsequent pregnancy. Access to abortion can also impact women differently, according to Forbes. Those who choose when to have kids have greater control over their education, careers, and economic security.
Here are the laws regarding abortion rights around the world:
Brazil In Brazil, abortion is permitted in two situations: to save the pregnant woman’s life or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Even though more clinics now offer abortions, in reality, only very few people have access to the resource. To be able to get an abortion, doctors, and hospitals need judicial authorization. As a result, most abortions are made in clandestine places.
Nepal Since 2002, abortion has been legal in Nepal up to the 12-week mark. If the pregnancy results from rape or incest, there is a fetal abnormality, or if the pregnancy is at risk for the woman’s physical or mental health, the abortion is allowed for up to 18 weeks. Even with abortions legalized, there are many obstacles like lack of transportation, gender norms, and the high cost of the procedure. The legalization of abortion has declined maternal mortality. The numbers fell from 580 maternal deaths per 100K live births in 1995 to 190 per 100K in 2013.
Poland Abortion is only permitted if there is a risk to the pregnant woman's health or if the pregnancy results from rape. This new ruling has created barriers to access abortion since it is almost impossible for those eligible for a legal abortion. In October 2020, the verdict that authorized abortions for malformed fetuses was deemed unconstitutional, restricting access to abortions even further.
After the new ruling restricting abortions, Polish women now go to other European countries to access safe abortions or import medical abortion pills. Those in lower socio-economic settings often are left with minimum resources.
Indonesia Abortion can only be performed in medical emergencies and if there is a severe fetal anomaly. In the case of fetal abnormality, the woman’s husband must consent to the procedure. In 2009, abortion was also legalized when the gestation was a result of rape, for up to six weeks gestation. However, most abortions are still done in clandestine settings since they fall outside of the permitted categories.
Albania Since December 7, 1995, abortion has been legal on request until the 12th week of pregnancy. After the law was implemented, the unintended pregnancy rate declined by 86% between 1990–1994 and 2015–2019 and the abortion rate declined by 88%.
Sources: Human Rights Watch. Abortion: Brazil https://www.hrw.org/legacy/women/abortion/brazil.html Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending right to abortion upheld for decades https://www.npr.org/2022/06/24/1102305878/supreme-court-abortion-roe-v-wade-deci sion-overturn Roe V. Wade https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roe_v._Wade#:~:text=Roe%20v.%20Wade%2C%20410%20 U.S.,choose%20to%20have%20an%20abortion. The Harmful Effects of Overturning Roe v. Wade https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/the-harmful-effects-of-overturnin g-roe-v-wade/ How Overturning Roe V. Wade Can Impact The Economy https://www.forbes.com/sites/hollycorbett/2022/06/07/how-overturning-roe-v-wade-ca n-impact-the-economy/?sh=65f0466e632f Supreme Court has voted to overturn abortion rights, draft opinion shows
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/02/supreme-court-abortion-draft-opinion-000 29473 Abortion and Unintended Pregnancy in Nepal https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/abortion-unintended-pregnancy-in-nepal#:~:text =Abortion%20was%20legalized%20in%20Nepal,there%20is%20a%20fetal%20abnormalit y. Poland: Regression on abortion access harms women https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/01/poland-regression-on-abortion-acce ss-harms-women/
Abortion in Poland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_Poland#2020_Constitutional_Tribunal_ruling Induced Abortion in Indonesia https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-indonesia#:~:text=Indonesian %20law%20allows%20abortion%20in,up%20to%20six%20weeks'%20gestation. Albania https://www.guttmacher.org/geography/europe/albania