What Happens Without Legal Abortion?
Center president and CEO Nancy Northup reflects on the consequences of abortion bans across the world in a thought-provoking MSNBC editorial this week.
Northup contextualizes the importance of the global movement to liberalize abortion policy over the last 20 years. A new map from the Center shows that 35 countries worldwide have expanded or legalized abortion services in that period, creating a safer and healthier environment for women. In countries where abortion is legal and accessible, pregnancy-related death rates are far lower due to fewer women being forced to resort to unsafe abortions.
However, in countries such as El Salvador, where abortion restrictions remain harsh, the consequences are terrifyingly clear. “Restrictive abortion laws result in 22 million clandestine, unsafe abortions annually—killing nearly 50,000 women each year,” Northup says.
In addition to the interactive 2014 World Abortion Laws Map, the Center has released a report, Abortion Worldwide: 20 Years of Reform, tracking the efforts of advocates, lawyers, public health researchers, and government leaders to reform harmful abortion policies across the globe.