Abortion Policies and Reproductive Health around the World
The report provides information on changes in legal grounds for abortion between 1996 and 2013. It also includes latest available information on government policies and programmes related to reproductive health.
- Between 1996 and 2013, the percentage of Governments permitting abortion increased gradually for all legal grounds, except to save a woman’s life which remained at 97 per cent. Despite overall expansion in the legal grounds for abortion, policies remain restrictive in many countries.
- In about two thirds of countries in 2013, abortion was permitted when the physical or mental health of the mother was endangered, and only in half of the countries when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest or in cases of foetal impairment. Only about one third of countries permitted abortion foreconomic or social reasons or on request.
- Since 1996, legal grounds for abortion have expanded in a growing number of countries in both developing and developed regions, but abortion policies remain much more restrictive in countries of the developing regions.
- Governments in developing regions were more than four times as likely to have restrictive abortion policies as those in developed regions. In 2013, 82 per cent of Governments in developed regions permitted abortion for economic or social reasons and 71 per cent allowed abortion on request. In contrast, only 20 per cent of Governments in developing regions permitted abortion for economic or social reasons and only 16 per cent allowed it on request.
United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2014). Abortion Policies and Reproductive Health
around the World (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.14.XIII.11).