Know the abortion laws and policies in your country? A new global resource can tell you

Friday, July 14, 2017

Image of global abortion laws database

An open-access database of comprehensive information on global abortion laws and policies has been launched jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Population Division of the United Nations (UN) Department of Social and Economic Affairs.

Available on both WHO and UN online platforms, the database provides country-specific sexual and reproductive health indicators, and covers policy areas such as legal grounds for abortion and related gestational limits; who can provide abortion services; and where, when and how abortion services are permitted.

Jina Dhillon, Ipas policy and advocacy manager, says the database will put critical information at the fingertips of reproductive health and rights advocates around the world. “Our work is urgent,” she says. “This database will accelerate and strengthen our ability to eliminate needless deaths and injuries caused by unsafe abortion.”

“The global picture for abortion laws and policies is complex,” says WHO. “This database can help unpack the complexities and nuances of these laws and policies.” Although the database does not address how abortion laws and policies are being applied in practice, advocates working to advance reproductive rights are encouraged to use database information to generate evidence on how countries are implementing laws and policies.