Access to abortion for reasons of mental health

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

As of 2007, 24 countries include an explicit indication for mental health in their abortion laws, and an additional 35 permit abortion to protect a woman’s health. However, discrepancies in the interpretation of this indication result in a tremendous range of access to abortion services among these countries. This briefing paper provides medical and legal support for a woman-centered interpretation of laws that permit abortion to preserve a woman’s mental health. It also includes medical and legal perspectives and examples of mental health indications for abortion in three countries: Ghana, Spain and the United Kingdom.