Culture facts

Abortion in Different Countries

Pregnancy is of the miracles that many wait at least once in their lifetime. But for some it is not the case.

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Gibraltar has recently won a vote that would ease their laws regarding abortion. Abortion has been a very controversial subject in many countries regardless of what religion or race they belong to. And up to this date abortion is banned or strictly limited in many countries. Also there are some countries that abortion is legal.

What is Abortion?

Abortion is when terminating the human pregnancy deliberately. The process of abortion is performed most often during the first 28 weeks.

History of Abortion

The earliest records of an abortion runs back to 2700 BC in China and 1500 BC in Egypt. But the records only shows of how the abortion was done. There are no evidence of a law that concerned abortion, either offended it or defended it.

After the civilizations became more complex the man was considered the main character in the society. So the laws that created were in favor of men. They were only created by a man’s perspective. Regardless of time a child was always proof of the not only the ability of a man’s reproduction but their status in society. So when a woman who had undergone an abortion was always given the most harsh penalties. Even many religions have rules against the abortion. Under no circumstance a woman was not allowed to do an abortion, even the mother is terminally ill she had to bear the child.

Born Alive Rule

At the end of the 16th century English barrister and judge Sir Edward Coke added the Born Alive Rule under the common law. It is the only rule that has a connection between children and murder of a child.

If a woman be quick with childe, and by a potion or otherwise killeth it in her wombe, or if a man beat her, whereby the child dyeth in her body, and she is delivered of a dead childe, this is great misprision, and no murder; but if he childe be born alive and dyeth of the potion, battery, or other cause, this is murder; for in law it is accounted a reasonable creature, in rerum natura, when it is born alive

The simple meaning of this phrase is that it is not considered as a murder if a woman gave birth to a dead child but after the woman had given birth, if the child died from beating or poison it is considered as murder. This law is practices in England and the former colonies under the UK along with the United States of America. According to this rule the fetus was not considered as a reasonable creature or rerum natura. Which means that abortion is not considered as a murder according to the English law. But abortion was prohibited by the law after the quickening (when a woman can feel the fetus’s movement in her belly).

Even the abortion was not considered as a murder women at that time did not go to a doctor to perform an abortion. They used food or drinks or any method that would make them into quick labour. When the rules became more liberate and women were free the rate of pregnancy became higher so did the rate of abortion. By the mid 20th century the western countries thought of easing the laws regarding abortion. Specially by the time women would die due to non professional procedures that they would allow in order to get the abortion done.

Abortion in Russia

Soviet Union was the first country to legalize the abortion.

During the Tsar era the abortion was illegal and even after the Russian revolutionists took over the country they also thought that the abortion is another anti-socialist theory created by the capitalist. But soon they realized that the abortion had become a danger to their country and to its citizens. Women in rural areas have been performing abortions without any medical background or any practice, Which was more dangerous to the women than not having an abortion law. Because after the civil war people were suffering and it was difficult them to have children with the poverty followed the war. Without proper birth control methods and at a time abortion was illegal women went through abortions without proper medical procedures. So in 1920 Russia legalized abortion under the ruling of Vladimir Lenin. But they did not want the abortions to be legalized forever.

In 1936 Joseph Stalin prohibited abortion except the when its necessary to save the mother or any other reasonable case. Their initial goal was to increase the population that had decreased during the civil war and the first world war. But after Stalin had died in 1955 once again abortion was legalized in Russia.

At the same time few countries legalized the abortion under special reasons such as pregnancy from rape, threat to mother’s health, fetal malformation

After 1950 other countries have passed or legalized their abortion laws. Poland was the first country in Europe to legalize the abortion. But it was only when if the mother was terminally ill or if the mother was pregnant due to rape.

Abortion in Nazi Germany

Hitler was obsessed with creating a pure Germany. So the abortion was legalized according to the Nazi laws, which allowed them to perform abortion on non pure Germans. The Nazi called it the racial cleansing.

Abortion in USA

In 1959 the American Law Institute had drafted a model state abortion law to make legal abortions accessible. Mississippi reformed their abortion laws in 1966 and allowed abortion in cases of rape. It became the first US state to legalize the abortion.

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In the following year Colorado became the first state to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, or in which pregnancy would lead to permanent physical disability of the woman. After that the laws similar to the Colorado were passed in California, Oregon and North Carolina.

Abortion in Different Religions

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A religion is always comes in between the abortion and woman. Let’s see the opinion regarding abortion in main religions in the world.


There is no clear rule or custom or any other teaching that conclude whether abortion is right or wrong. But in countries like Thailand and Sri Lanka have different level of mentality that grows along with the fetus. Buddhism does not interpret that the abortion as a main problem and modern Buddhist monks even agree with the abortion when it concerns the health of the mother. But in general abortion is considered as a negative deed when it comes to the Karma.


Catholic church does not agree with abortion since it holds that “human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. But when the fetus is dead, which is harmful to the mother the church is reasonable with the abortion.


There is no clear phrase that would conclude whether the religious view stands against the abortion or not. But Christians who are against the abortion say that it is not morally acceptable.


Orthodox Jewish teaching allows abortion if necessary to safeguard the life of the pregnant woman. Many Orthodox Jews oppose abortion, except when it is necessary to save a woman’s life (or, according to some, the woman’s health).


Although there are different opinions among Islamic scholars about when life begins, and when abortion is permissible. Many scholars agree that the termination of a pregnancy after 120 days (or 4 months) is not permissible because at that point according to Islam, a fetus is thought to become a living soul. The Quran states to not have an abortion for fear of poverty. All schools accept abortion as a means to save the mother’s life


The abortion is condemned in Hinduism. It belongs to the Garbha Upanishad in Vedha. The verses in the particular Vedha part show abortion as a crime. A jivan (an intelligence) or soul comes alive after the 7th month.

Today’s World

Abortion is still a very controversial subject. But let’s look at the world where abortion is legalized and how much they ask.

There are 26 countries that have prohibited abortion under any excuse.

There are 36 countries that allow abortion to save the mother’s life.

56 countries allow abortion to protect the mental health of the mother.

14 countries agree to abortion according to the social status and economic status of the mother.

There are 67 countries in the world that allow abortion on request.

Does your country belongs to one or more of the above categories?

What do you think about Abortion?

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