In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, finding that the federal constitutional right to abortion no longer exists. Going forward, abortion rights will be determined by the states, unless Congress acts.

The ruling is the most important Supreme Court decision in decades and will transform the landscape of women’s reproductive health in the United States.

Nearly half of the states have already passed or will pass laws banning abortion, while others have enacted strict measures to regulate the procedure.

abortion laws around the world

Abortion laws vary drastically around the world: in some countries it is a personal decision, in others it is completely illegal, and in many countries abortions are only accepted in certain situations, such as fetal malformations or in cases of rape.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a non-profit organization in the United States, counts those countries in which abortion is legal, in which it is allowed only in certain circumstances and in which it is totally illegal. Here, a look at the situation that updates the status of the United States as of this Friday’s decision.

One of the last previous updates were those of Colombia and Mexico.

In February of this year, the Colombian Constitutional Court decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks of gestation. Months ago, in September 2021, the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico ruled that it is unconstitutional to criminalize abortion.

The situation in Latin America

Colombia joined Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba in 2022 as the only countries in Latin America that allow legal abortion at the request of any pregnant woman. The Uruguayan law establishes the 12th week of gestation as the limit, as does the Cuban law. Argentina’s, meanwhile, sets the limit at 14 weeks.

On the American continent, Canada, Guyana and French Guiana also have laws that allow free legal abortion.

Then other countries have a policy where they allow abortion in specific cases and conditions:

Bolivia: rape, incest, mental health;
Ecuador: rape;
Peru: rape, life risk for women.

In Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Dominica, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay and Venezuela, abortion is prohibited, but it is allowed to save the woman’s life in case of risk.

Mexico is among those countries, but some states have added other causes to allow termination of pregnancy. For example, in Mexico City it is enabled until 12 weeks of gestation. And to these provisions is added the decision of the Justice of 2021.

Suriname, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Honduras are the only countries in the Americas where abortion is completely prohibited.

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