Canada is one of four countries in the world that have no restrictions on abortion according to a new study from an American pro-life organization.
Gestational Limits on Abortion in the United States Compared to International Norms, a new report by Angelina Baglini of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, compares the gestational limits on abortion in the United States to the limits in 198 other countries, independent states, and regions.
The other countries with no limits on abortion are China, North Korea, and Vietnam.
Of the 198 countries, 59 permit “elective abortion” or “abortion on demand,” defined as providing abortion without restriction up to a certain point in the pregnancy. This does not include Australia, where only some states permit elective abortion. The other 139 countries demand that there be some particular reason for getting the procedure done. These include Croatia, Macedonia, and Montenegro, which have limits on abortion past 10 weeks conception, as well as Belgium and Germany, where the restriction is past 12 weeks conception. Sweden starts limiting abortion after 18 weeks pregnancy.
Countries with a complete ban on abortion (not mentioned in the report) include Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Chile. In the United Kingdom, abortions are permitted in the first 24 weeks as long as two doctors ascertain that abortion is less harmful to the woman’s physical and mental health than pregnancy.
The Netherlands and Singapore have a limit of 24 weeks and the United States ostensibly does not permit abortion past fetal viability, usually no earlier than 24 weeks. 13 states, however, have laws banning elective abortion past 20 weeks. Some states, such as California, have no restrictions on when abortions can be carried out.
According to Americans United for Life’s Defending Life 2014 guide to state laws protecting life, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arizona ban most abortions past 20 weeks. Idaho and Georgia’s 20-week prohibitions are under legal challenge. Arkansas has a prohibition on abortion if the child has a heartbeat and is at least 12 weeks old; that law is currently before the courts. North Dakota is also being sued for banning abortion past the detection of a heartbeat (as early as six weeks). States that prohibit sex selective abortion include North Carolina and Kansas.
“The definition of human life in the Canadian Criminal code, which states that a child becomes a human being when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, is just one example of how Canada completely ignores pre-natal human life, and runs contrary to science, logic and international humanitarian standards, said Natalie Sonnen, executive director of Life Canada, in a press release for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. “This study demonstrates how radical the US and particularly Canada are in regards to international norms for abortion.”
Jeff Gunnarson of Campaign Life Coalition told The Interim that while CLC does not support gestational restrictions as a way to regulate abortion, “the study shows that Canada’s abortion-on-demand is out-of-step with international norms which seeks to limit a wide-open abortion license.” He said that restrictions on abortion funding and laws requiring informed consent are preferable and demonstrable ways to reduce abortion in the absence of a ban on the procedure.