Most European Countries Limit Elective Abortion to Before 15 Weeks, Like Mississippi's Law Now Before SCOTUS

By Michael W. Chapman | July 27, 2021 | 3:11pm EDT
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- A new study shows that most European countries allow elective abortion (without restriction as to reason) prior to 15-weeks gestation of the baby. This is similar to a Mississippi law, now before the Supreme Court, which would limit most abortions to 15 weeks or earlier in a pregnancy.

If the high court rules in Mississippi's favor, it could upend Roe v. Wade by allowing states to restrict elective abortion to 15 weeks instead of the currently accepted 24 weeks, which is when a baby is considered viable.

“Mississippi’s law brings the United States a small step closer both to European and global norms,” said Angelina B. Nguyen, J.D., an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the author of the new report, Mississippi’s 15-Week Gestational Limit on Abortion is Mainstream Compared to European Laws


"The majority of European countries that allow elective abortion limit it to 12 weeks," states the report. "This finding demonstrates that Mississippi’s law limiting elective abortion to 15 weeks is neither extreme nor outside the norm in comparison to European practice."

Charles A. Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), said, “American elites often hold up Europe as an example.  First we demonstrated that more than two-thirds of the planet goes further than America in protecting life. Now, we’ve demonstrated that almost every European nation goes further than America in protecting life."

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

"Mississippi’s common-sense limits on late-term abortion are well within the mainstream of American popular opinion and clearly within the mainstream of European political opinion," he said.

In the study, Nguyen looked at the abortion laws in "50 European countries, independent states, and semi-autonomous regions with populations exceeding 1 million."

Among those states, 42 permit abortion "without restriction as to reason, otherwise known as elective abortion or abortion on demand." Eight of the states, including Great Britain and Finland, require a reason for the abortion.

  (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

For the 42 states with elective abortion, 39 "limit elective abortion to 15 weeks’ gestation or earlier," according to the report. The majority of these 39 states limit elective abortion at 12 weeks or earlier. 

The study shows the following,

  • 5 European countries limit elective abortion to 10 weeks’ gestation
    • Croatia, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey
  • 27 European countries limit elective abortion to 12 weeks’ gestation
    • Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Moldova, Northern Ireland, North Macedonia, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine
  • 2 European countries limit elective abortion between 12 and 14 weeks’ gestation
    • Austria (90 days, or 3 months), Italy (90 days)
  • 5 European countries limit elective abortion to 14 weeks’ gestation
    • Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain

Only three of the 42 states allow elective abortion after 15 weeks' gestation, and these three states are, 

  • Iceland (22 weeks)
  • Netherlands (24 weeks)
  • Sweden (18 weeks)

“No European nation allows elective abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, as is effectively permitted in several U.S. states, and America is one of only a small handful of nations, along with China and North Korea, to permit any sort of late-term elective abortion," said Nguyen. 

"The Mississippi late-term abortion restriction at 15 weeks is not extreme by any measure when compared with European law," concludes the study. 

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