Abortion laws are those legislations which describe whether or not the practice of abortion is allowed in certain places, and how it can be practiced. As the technical details vary greatly from country to country, I will be focusing on general details for general geological areas.
Abortion laws were discussed in discourse all the way back to the ancient Greek and Roman times in the writings of such people as Plato and Aristotle, who favored abortion in certain circumstances, and Hippocrates who completely disagreed with the practice. Certain writers of this time period even discussed different abortifacient herbs – or herbs that cause abortion – and how to use them. Religion has always played a major role in the legalization or banning of abortion.
Many Catholic popes have declared abortion a “sin against marriage”. In the 1800s, Western countries began making abortion illegal because of moral dilemmas and because the practice of abortion at that time was so dangerous. However, abortions did not decrease due to the bans. This is a major reason why in the 20th century legislation was passed in many countries legalizing the practice of abortion. Most countries now have legalized abortion procedures that are safer than other medical treatments available.
International abortion laws are difficult to uphold due to individual country’s laws. However, the United Nations, as well as other international organizations, has instituted a number of legislations regulating abortion and dealing with women’s rights. One such legislation is the 1994 Programme of Action, which states that abortion should not be used as a practice of family planning. It also recognizes that in countries where abortion is legal, those practices should be safe.
In other words, this legislation helps make sure that abortion procedures are medically regulated and practiced by licensed professionals. Another of the international abortion laws states that women have the right to make a decision about her body without being coerced or punished. This legislation is called the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action.
Individual countries ultimately make their own abortion laws. In Africa, most countries allow Therapeutic abortion, but in cases of rape, socio-economic factors and fetal defects, abortions are not allowed. On demand abortions are illegal in almost every country. In Asian countries like China, North Korea and Cambodia, all abortions are legal.
In Japan, abortions are only legal in the first and second trimester, and on demand abortion are not allowed. In Europe, most countries have relaxed abortion laws, except for in Malta and Vatican City, where all abortions are illegal. Ireland, San Marino, and Andorra allow for therapeutic abortions only. In the Middle East, only Bahrain allows all types of abortion; most countries provide for the health of the woman. In Canada and the United States, all types of abortion are legal, though on demand abortions are a bit more restricted in the US.