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Countries Where Abortion Is Illegal

Updated October 13, 2018 4.1k views31 items

With the many decades long battle in the United States over women’s rights and abortion laws, it’s easy to forget how strict and oppressive other countries can be on the matter. The controversial subject of abortion is a constant source of contention in many countries. In which countries is abortion illegal?

Countries where women don’t have access to legal and safe abortions usually have high rates of maternal deaths due to botched abortions. These countries also have higher rates of 10-19 year old mothers. Countries that have made abortion illegal also carry harsh punishments for those who break the laws. Doctors, midwives, or any other person who helps carry out an abortion may face up to 7 years in prison, while the mother may end up in prison for 5 years and owe a hefty fine.

Not all of the countries that have outlawed abortion have completely disregarded a woman’s health. Many of these countries offer abortions for women who would otherwise die in childbirth. However, in order to get the lifesaving abortion, it often has to be approved by a committee of conservative medical professionals.

This list features all the countries that have outlawed abortion, some without exception and some allowing for it only in life saving scenarios. 

  • Angola
    Photo: Free Grunge Textures - / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    Since much of Angola is conservative and religious, abortion has always been illegal. Around 40% of women who receive illegal abortions die of surgical complications.

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  • Congo
    Photo: jbdodane / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    Since 1982, a person who performs and/or has an abortion is subject to 5 to 15 years prison time. Abortion is permitted to save a woman's life.

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  • Gabon
    Photo: jbdodane / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    Abortion is only allowed in Gabon if it will save a woman's life. Otherwise, it is subject to many years in prison. 

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  • Guinea-Bissau
    Photo: jbdodane / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    In Guinea-Bissau, abortion can only be performed if it will save a woman's life. Without medical permission, a woman who gets an abortion may serve at least 5 years in prison.

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