World Abortion Law

In the first half of the 20th century, many countries began to liberalize abortion laws, at least when they are applied to protect women`s lives and, in some cases, at the woman`s request. Under Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Union was the first modern state to legalize abortion on demand – the law was first introduced in 1920 in the Russian SFSR, in July 1921 in the Ukrainian SSR, and then throughout the country. [5] [6] The Bolsheviks regarded abortion as a social evil created by the capitalist system, which left women without the economic means to raise their children and forced them to perform abortions. The Soviet state initially maintained the Tsarist ban on abortion, which treated the practice as premeditated murder. However, abortion has been performed by Russian women for decades and its incidence has continued to rise due to the Russian Civil War, which has devastated the country economically and made it extremely difficult for many people to have children. The Soviet state realized that a ban on abortion would not stop the practice because women would continue to use the services of private opponents of abortion. In rural areas, these were often elderly women with no medical training, making their services very dangerous for women`s health. In November 1920, the Soviet regime legalized abortion in public hospitals. The state saw abortion as a temporary necessary evil that would disappear in the future communist society, which would be able to take care of all conceived children.

[7] [page needed] In 1936, Joseph Stalin imposed abortion bans that limited them to medically recommended cases only in order to increase population growth after the enormous loss of life in World War I and the Russian Civil War. [8] [9] [6] In the 1930s, several countries (Poland, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Mexico) legalized abortion in certain special cases (pregnancy following rape, endangerment of maternal health, fetal malformation). In Japan, abortion was legalized in 1948 by the Eugenics Protection Law,[10] which was amended in May 1949 to allow abortion for economic reasons. [11] Abortion was legalized in Yugoslavia in 1952 (to some extent) and in 1955 in the Soviet Union upon request. Some Soviet allies (Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania) legalized abortion in the late 1950s under pressure from the Soviets. [How?] [12] 91 million (6%) of women of childbearing age live in countries that completely ban abortion. Abortion laws vary from state to state in the United States and Mexico. Some countries that allow abortion to save the person`s life, maintain health, or for social or economic reasons also allow abortion in cases of rape, incest or fetal malformation. Image courtesy of the Council on Foreign Relations The global trend in abortion law is moving towards liberalization. Since 2000, 38 countries have amended their abortion laws and all but one — Nicaragua — have expanded the legal basis on which women have access to abortion services. Since 2020, Argentina and Thailand have legalized abortion with some pregnancy restrictions; Mexico has decriminalized abortion, as has South Korea; and New Zealand has eased its abortion restrictions.

But that doesn`t stop women from having abortions. Amnesty International believes that everyone should be free to exercise their physical autonomy and make their own decisions about their reproductive life, including when and if they have children. It is important that abortion laws respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of pregnant people and do not force them to resort to unsafe abortions. Regional bodies such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples` Rights (ACHPR) have also been very active in this regard. The ACHPR called for the decriminalization of abortion in Africa in January 2016 in line with the Maputo Protocol and renewed this request in January 2017, making waves across the region.8 The purpose of this document was not to provide answers or roadmaps, as the prevailing conditions must be taken into account in each country. The aim was to stimulate transformative reflection on the need for a criminal law on abortion. Treating abortion as basic health care is a big step forward, and where the national framework insists on some kind of law, proponents could draft the simplest and most favorable law possible that places first-trimester abortion care at the primary and municipal levels, provides services in the second trimester, Includes mid-level providers, sensitizes women to services and the law, with the goal of universal access. Integration of WHO-approved methods and consideration of social attitudes to reduce resistance. Space has not allowed me to address issues of cost and public services versus private services, but these are two important aspects that deserve to be prioritized. In 2005, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) ordered Peru to compensate a woman (known as K.L.) for refusing her a medically indicated abortion.

It was the first time a UN committee held a country accountable for failing to guarantee access to safe and legal abortion, and the first time the committee affirmed that abortion is a human right. [39] K.L. received the indemnity in 2016. [39] In Mellet v. Ireland in 2016, the UN Human Rights Council concluded that Ireland`s abortion laws violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as Irish law prohibits abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities. The number of countries admitting each of these areas in 2002 varied considerably from region to region. For example, abortion on demand was permitted in 65% of developed countries, but only in 14% of developing countries, and for economic and social reasons in 75% of developed countries, but only 19% of developing countries.14 Some countries allow additional grounds for abortion, for example if the woman has HIV, is under the age of 16 or over 40. is not married or has many children. A few also allow existing children to be protected or in the event of contraceptive failure.15 Criminalization and restrictive abortion laws prevent health care providers from doing their job properly and providing their patients with the best care options, in accordance with good medical practice and professional ethics. In the 1970s, the United States was one of the first countries to liberalize its abortion laws, along with several Western European countries. In 1973, the U.S.

Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the Constitution guarantees women the right to choose to have an abortion. In 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey affirmed that right, but allowed regulations such as waiting periods and parental consent requirements. Since the Casey decision, state laws governing abortion in the United States have varied considerably. A growing number of states have passed laws banning abortions after just six weeks or regulating abortion providers, resulting in the closure of more than 160 clinics, leaving six states with a single abortion provider. A law passed in Alabama in May would ban abortion in virtually all cases, with no exception for cases of rape or incest; If enacted, it would make the state one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. 576 million (36%) of women of childbearing age live in countries that allow abortion on demand.

75 countries in the world fall into this category. These laws are generally interpreted generously to allow abortion in various circumstances. These countries often take into account a woman`s actual or reasonably foreseeable environment and her social or economic situation when considering the potential effects of pregnancy and childbirth. Zambia is one of the few countries in Africa where abortion is allowed for economic and social reasons, but despite a liberal law, structural and cultural barriers make abortion difficult for Zambian women. Zambia has less than one medical practitioner per ten thousand people, and for more than 60% of Zambians living in rural areas, there are few health professionals. The law states that only a licensed doctor and not a nurse or midwife can perform an abortion, making safe access out of reach for most. Zambia suffers from a high rate of abortion-related maternal mortality, with about 30 per cent of maternal deaths caused by abortion complications. The result has been the complete decriminalization of abortion in Canada, where, like any other medical procedure, it is publicly funded and regulated at the provincial level.

Ireland voted in 2018 to remove the abortion ban from its constitution. Abortion is now allowed up to the 12th week of pregnancy if the health or life of the mother is in danger or if the fetus has a birth defect. The Global Map of Abortion Laws contains complementary tools and resources to help advocates and policymakers promote abortion reform. The last fifty years have been marked by an undeniable trend towards the liberalization of abortion law, particularly in the industrialized world. Amid the ongoing debate over the procedure, the trend has coincided with a decline in abortion rates around the world. As nations around the world have expanded the basics of women`s access to reproductive health services, the quality and safety of abortion care has improved, as has maternal survival.

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