0 abortion not permitted
1 to save a woman's life
2 to preserve physical health and to save a woman's life
3 to preserve mental health and above
4 in case of rape and incest and most of the above
5 in case of rape and incest and above
6 in case of foetal impairment and most of the above
7 in case of foetal impairment and above
8 for economic and social reasons and most of the above
9 for economic and social reasons and the above
10 on request
0 No Data
1 Less than 10%
2 10-15%
3 15-20%
4 20-25%
5 More than 25%

Legal Grounds for Abortion

What does it mean ?

This indicator shows the legal status of abortion in each country by categorising the grounds on which abortion is allowed into the following groups:

  • abortion not permitted
  • to save a woman's life
  • to preserve physical health and to save a woman's life
  • to preserve mental health and above
  • in case of rape and incest and most of the above
  • in case of rape and incest and above
  • in case of foetal impairment and most of the above
  • in case of foetal impairment and above
  • for economic and social reasons and most of the above
  • for economic and social reasons and the above
  • on request

Why does it matter ?

The legal status of abortion is an important indicator of women's ability to enjoy their reproductive rights. Legal restrictions on abortion often cause high levels of illegal and unsafe abortion, and there is a proven link between unsafe abortion and maternal mortality. There is strong evidence that legal restrictions do not stop women from having abortions, driving them instead to seek unsafe and illegal procedures which risk their lives.

How is it collected ?

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Policy Section collects these data every 2 years via their World Population Policies Database.

Findings are disseminated under the website: https://esa.un.org/PopPolicy/about_database.aspx

Download their database from this website for detailed data on grounds for abortion for individual countries.

United Nations, World Population Policies Database. http://esa.un.org/poppolicy/about_database.aspx

A mother at 18 or 19 years old in 2017