Mapping Abortion Rights Worldwide

Subhead
The Center for Reproductive Rights unveils our fully updated, interactive World's Abortion Laws Map

06.04.2019

Primary Content

Tonight, the fully revised and updated World's Abortion Laws Map—the definitive record of the legal status of abortion in countries around the globe—was officially introduced by the Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup, at the global Women Deliver conference in Vancouver.  

The World's Abortion Laws Map (WALM) is a tool and resource the Center has been producing since 1998, to support and inform advocates, governments, and civil society organizations working to drive law and policy reform. The Center partners with pro bono law firms and practicing lawyers from around the world to review the black letter law in effect in each country, ensuring that the map always reflects the most accurate and up-to-date information.  

This new version of the map has also been launched as a fully interactive online tool that contains rich reference material and facilitates comparative legal analysis between countries. Additional features included in the online version of the map are:  

  • Full black-letter law text of 50 countries’ abortion laws 

  • International human rights standards 

  • Global medical guidelines 

  • Visualization of legal change over time 

  • Updated feed of recent developments in abortion law and policy reform  

The World's Abortion Laws Map is a signature resource for the Center. As explained by Katy Mayall, Director of Capacity Building and lead researcher of the WALM, “The legal status of abortion worldwide indicates much more than just where women and girls can legally decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. It also reveals how likely a woman is to die from unsafe abortion, whether girls will be able to complete their education, and often indicates other limits on women and girls’ ability to participate fully in the public and political life of their countries.”  

Critically, in an era where we see increasing regression in pockets of the world, the World Abortion Laws Map demonstrates that there has been an overwhelming global trend toward the liberalization of abortion laws. In the past 25 years nearly 50 countries have liberalized their laws and 16 have removed total bans. Today more than 970 million women of reproductive age live in countries that broadly allow abortion.  

But 90 million women still live in countries where they have no access to legal abortion care, or where they can be jailed for being suspected of having had an abortion, and a coordinated opposition is continuously trying to chip away at existing protections for women’s reproductive rights. The Center—and our many allies, partners, and friends—will work continuously to defend and extend these rights captured in this map. 

To see or use the 2019 World's Abortion Laws Map, go to https://reproductiverights.org/worldabortionlaws