Abortion Laws Worldwide


Approximately 25% of the world's population lives in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws, mostly in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

abortion laws CRR

Legalization of abortion can prevent the unnecessary suffering and deaths of women. Restrictive abortion laws violate women's human rights based on agreements made at the UN International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 1 & 3 &12 &19 & 27.1).

Prior to the beginning of the 19th century, there were no abortion laws in existence. In 1869 Pope Pius IX declared that ensoulement occurs at conception. As a result the laws were changed to prohibit any termination of pregnancy. These laws form the basis of the restrictive legislation on abortion that still exist in many developing countries. Between 1950 and 1985 almost all developed countries liberalized their abortion laws for reasons of human rights and safety. Restrictive abortion laws in some countries are often due to old colonial laws.

RED countries on the map: Abortion illegal in all circumstances or permitted only to save a woman's life.
South America:

Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gustamala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nigaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela,

Sub-Saharan Africa:

Angola, Benin, Central African Rep.Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Gabon, Guinea- Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauretania, Mauritius, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda.

Middle East and North Africa:

Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Sudan (r), Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Asia and Pacific:

Bangladesh, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka.


Ireland, Malta.

PINK countries on the map: Abortion legally permitted only to save a woman's life or protect her physical health.
The Americas and the Caribbean:

Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, 

Sub-Saharan Africa:

Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe

Middle East and North Africa:

Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabi

Asia and Pacific:

Pakistan, South Korea, Thailand




For more information please see  the Interactive map of the Center for reproductive rights