Mission: To visually illustrate the legal status of induced abortion in different countries and advocate for greater progress in ensuring access to safe and legal abortion services for all women.
Background: Created by the Center for Reproductive Rights in 1998, the World's Abortion Laws map serves as a resource for human rights advocates working on abortion law reform, as well as a means of tracking the progress of and identifying challenges to reproductive rights around the globe. The center believes that governments must respect a woman's human right to make decisions regarding her reproductive life, including whether to carry a pregnancy to term or seek an abortion. It also believes that liberalizing restrictive abortion laws and investing in safe abortion services is an essential step toward guaranteeing women's fundamental rights and saving the lives of thousands of women every year, and that a woman's right to safe and legal abortion is grounded in the rights of life, liberty, security of person, and freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. UN human rights bodies and independent human rights experts have recognized on numerous occasions that governments violate these rights when they make abortion services inaccessible.
Outstanding Web Features: The map categorizes the world's countries by the restrictiveness of their abortion laws, from severe to relative liberality. Each country is put into one of four categories determined by the circumstances under which a woman can legally obtain abortion services. The most restrictive category includes countries that prohibit abortion altogether or permit it only to save the life of a woman. The second category includes countries that permit abortion to protect a woman's life and health; the third includes countries that permit abortion for socioeconomic reason; and the fourth includes the sixty-one countries with the most liberal abortion laws. An "In Focus" tab allows viewers to see the official text of the abortion laws of key countries easily, and the map can be broken down by region or viewed as a whole. Visitors to the site also can learn about how restrictive abortion laws hurt women, why investing in safe abortion options is essential to guaranteeing women's fundamental rights, and/or get more information on the subject.