The law of Abortion in Europe

9 Jul 2020

The practice of abortion, understood as the induction or voluntary termination of pregnancy, is subject to the legal system in force in each country, in which it can be collected as a right or in the most restrictive cases, as a punishable offense.

In Ireland, Malta, Northern Ireland and Poland abortion laws are the most restrictive in the European Union. In fact, Poland and Ireland only allow termination of pregnancy to save a woman’s life, when there is a very serious threat to the mother’s health.

In Finland, abortion is not free, but legal in the following cases: rape, if the pregnant woman alleges socio-economic reasons, if she is under 17, if she is over 40 or has more than 4 children.

In Germany, abortion is only legal by medical indication if it is performed during the first 14 weeks. After 15, it is only allowed if the mother’s physical or psychological health is in danger.

In Portugal it is possible only until week 10 having made a prior consultation with psychologists and social workers.

In Austria, the law contemplates it until the 14th week of pregnancy after a medical consultation, as in Belgium. After 14, only if it poses a risk to the mother’s life and to her physical or mental health.

In Denmark it is possible to abort within the second trimester of pregnancy if socio-economic reasons are alleged. In Sweden, abortion can be performed until the 18th week of pregnancy. While in Finland it is legal to abort and there is no conscientious objection.

In Greece it is allowed within the first 12 weeks of gestation. In case of violation or incest, the term can be extended up to 19 weeks.

In Italy, a woman can terminate a pregnancy until 90 days of gestation. Although he finds many difficulties to access this service because of the objectors.

France interruptions are made at the will of the pregnant woman until week 14.

The European countries with the most permissive laws on abortion are:

  • In the UK you can practice until week 24
  • The Netherlands allows termination of pregnancy during the first 22 weeks of pregnancy.
  • In Spain, abortion is legal, and is governed by Organic Law 2/2010 on sexual and reproductive health and voluntary termination of pregnancy, which entered into force on July 5, 2010.

The main points of the current abortion law are the following:

  • The current abortion law guarantees voluntary termination of pregnancy as long as it is performed by a medical specialist, whether in a public health center or an accredited private one.
  • Until 14 weeks of pregnancy, all women over 18 can choose to have an abortion of their own accord, whatever the cause.
  • Exceptionspregnancy may be interrupted until week 22 if there is a risk to the life or health of the pregnant woman, that there are serious abnormalities in the fetus or abnormalities incompatible with life are detected.
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