Legal situations in Europe

This site provides information and addresses for women who are seeking for a clinic or doctor where they can undertake a safe abortion.
You can see immediately in which European country there is an easy access or where you will be confronted with restrictions or even where it is prohibited.

Abortion Law in Europe

Abortion is legal in nearly every European country although there is a wide variation in the restrictions under which it is permitted. Although nearly every European country makes abortion available on demand during the first trimester, when it comes to later-term abortions, there are very few with laws as liberal as those of the United States. Restrictions on abortion are most stringent in countries that are more strongly observant of the Catholic faith.

Most countries in the European Union allow abortion on demand during the first trimester. After the first trimester, abortion is allowed only under certain circumstances, such as risk to woman’s life or health, fetal defects or other specific situations that may be related to the circumstances of the conception or the woman’s age. For instance, in Austria, second trimester abortions are allowed only if there is a serious risk to physical health of woman (that cannot be averted by other means); risk to mental health of woman (that cannot be averted by other means); immediate risk to life of woman (that cannot be averted by other means); serious fetal impairment (physical or mental); or if the woman is under 14 years of age.

Some countries, such as Denmark, allow abortion after the first trimester for a variety of reasons, including socioeconomic ones, but a woman needs an authorization to have such an abortion.
It should be noted that the access to an abortion in much of Europe depends not as much on the letter of the law, but on the prevailing social views which lead to the interpretation of the laws. For instance, in parts of Europe, laws which allow a second trimester abortion due to mental health concerns (when it is deemed that the woman’s psychological health would suffer from the continuation of the pregnancy) have come to be interpreted very liberally, while in other conservative areas it is difficult to have a legal abortion even in the early stages of the pregnancy due to the policy of conscientious objection, under which doctors are allowed to refuse to perform an abortion if it is against their moral or religious convictions.

Malta is the only European country that bans abortion in all cases, and does not have an exception for situations where the woman’s life is in danger. The law however is not strictly enforced in relation to instances where a pregnancy endangers the woman’s life (see Abortion in Malta).

In Ireland abortion is illegal with the exception of cases where a woman’s life is endangered by the continuation of her pregnancy. The same is true for Andorra.

With the exception of Poland, former communist countries have liberal abortion laws. Poland is a country with a very strict abortion law, and where it is also very difficult to have a legal abortion. Abortion is allowed only in cases of risk to the life or health of the woman, when the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act (the criminal act has to be confirmed by a prosecutor), or when the fetus is seriously malformed. A doctor who performs an abortion which is deemed to not have a legal basis is subject to criminal prosecution, and, out of fear of prosecution, doctors avoid abortions, except in the most extreme circumstances.

Most European countries have laws which stipulate that minor girls need their parents’ consent or that the parents must be informed of the abortion. In most of these countries however, this rule can be circumvented if a committee agrees that the girl may be posed at risk if her parents find out about the pregnancy, or that otherwise it is in her best interests to not notify her parents. The interpretation in practice of these laws depends from region to region, as with the other abortion laws.

In countries where abortion is illegal or restricted, it is common for women to travel to neighboring countries with more liberal laws. It was estimated in 2007 that over 6,000 Irish women travel to England to have abortions every year.
Source: wiki/Abortion_law

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