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This is what the right of abortion looks like in Europe

2019-08-20T07:49:57.994Z

The world's eyes are on the state of Alabama right now, where the country's strictest abortion law has been signed. But even here in Europe there are countries with restrictive legislation - and in Malta there is a total ban on abortion, even if the woman's life is in danger.


The night before Thursday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey wrote under the United States' strictest abortion law. It prohibits abortion in almost all cases - even in rape and incest. The law enters into force if it is not stopped in court, and has already been met by harsh criticism.

"This is an attack on girls' and women's reproductive rights," says Katarina Bergehed, an expert on women's rights and sexual and reproductive rights at Amnesty in Sweden.

WHO: 47,000 deaths each year

Both Amnesty, RFSU and the World Organization WHO believe that restrictive abortion laws do not reduce the number of abortions.

- However, abortions often become more dangerous. Girls and women are forced to go to other states or countries where they can have a safe abortion. This strikes the most marginalized in society who do not have the financial opportunity to travel, says Katarina Bergehed.

According to the World Organization WHO, approximately 47,000 girls and women die each year as a result of dangerous and illegal abortions. Latin American Nicaragua, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic are among some of the countries in the world that have a total ban on abortions, although women's lives are in danger.

Abortion totally banned in Malta

In large parts of Europe there is free abortion, with Ireland being the last country to join previously very strict laws. But there are still several European countries that have restrictive abortion laws. In Malta, abortion is still totally prohibited, regardless of circumstances.

- It's extreme. Women are more likely to die than to perform this procedure, says Katarina Bergehed.

And in the micro-state of Andorra, abortion is totally prohibited, and San Marino and Liechtenstein also have harsh abortion laws.

Tough legislation in Poland

Poland has one of Europe's most restrictive abortion laws. Under the current law, abortion can be done under three circumstances: when a woman's life is in danger, in rape or incest, or if the fetus suffers from a life-threatening illness. Two years ago, hundreds of thousands of Poles stopped a proposal that would completely ban abortions and make it punishable, with up to five years in prison as a result. Last year, the issue of a tougher abortion law was raised again, and was met by further protests.

In Northern Ireland, abortion is only allowed for health reasons.

Footnote: Iceland has just voted through a new bill that allows abortion through week 22. The law comes into force on September 1, 2019. In the countries where abortion is allowed for socio-economic reasons, it is also permissible if the woman's life or health is risked, and in cases of rape / incest and in the case of serious birth defects. Photo: SVT Design

New abortion team in Iceland

Iceland has just voted through a new bill that allows free abortion through the 22nd week of pregnancy, regardless of circumstances. It reports the Icelandic public service company RÚV. The bill was voted on May 13. The former law allowed abortion until week 16, writes RÚV. The map above is currently not updated according to the new law, which comes into force on September 1, 2019 according to information from the Icelandic Parliament.

Can be denied despite legislation

Katarina Bergehed points out that legislation is not the only thing that can restrict women's access to reproductive rights. Prescribing emergency contraceptives or introducing conscience clauses - which are found in several European countries today - are other factors that can negatively affect this.

Source: svt

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