Countries where abortion is illegal

In following European countries abortion is prohibited by law, only allowed under certain circumstances.

    • Andorra
      Under the general criminal law principles of necessity, an abortion can be performed to save the life of the pregnant woman. According to the Code, a pregnant woman who performs an abortion or consents to an abortion will incur a penalty of up to two and one-half years of imprisonment. If another person performs an abortion with the consent of the woman, the maximum applicable penalty will be four years’ imprisonment. The penalty will be imprisonment for up to six years if the perpetrator is a physician, medical practitioner or health officer, or a person who customarily, or with the intent of profit, performs abortive practices. An abortion performed without the consent of the woman is punishable by a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. If abortive practices performed on a woman actually or supposedly pregnant result in serious injuries or the death of the woman, the maximum applicable penalty will be 12 years’ imprisonment. Any person offering his own or another’s services for the performance of an abortion or providing means or suggesting abortive procedures is subject to up to three years’ imprisonment. Details [pdf]

    • Northern Ireland
      Unlike in other European countries, abortion is almost completely criminalised in Northern Ireland. This does not prevent women from needing or seeking abortion. Instead it unfairly forces them to travel secretly, often alone, to Britain or Europe.
      See also:

    • Liechtenstein
      In Liechtenstein, parliament has made a new attempt to improve the situation of women affected by abortion. In the case of abortions by a doctor at home or abroad, women are no longer to be prosecuted under criminal law. On Friday, the 25-strong parliament voted 24 votes in favour of the amendment to the Penal Code proposed by the government. Liechtenstein women who have had abortions should no longer have to reckon with up to one year imprisonment, but should go unpunished. The condition for exemption from prosecution is that the procedure must be performed by a doctor, regardless of whether the procedure was performed at home or abroad. However, the doctor is still subject to criminal prosecution as a person involved in the offence. Foreign doctors who have carried out abortions on Liechtenstein women are no longer prosecuted in the Principality. This is because part of the bill is the abolition of the principle of international law with regard to abortion. The revision of the penal code has not yet been adopted. This will happen after the second reading in spring 2015. Until some time ago, the issue of abortion was at the top of the political agenda in the Principality. A change in the unsatisfactory situation with the criminalisation of women and the lack of a deadline regulation was not achieved. The introduction of a deadline regulation had been rejected in September 2011 by 52 percent at the ballot box. The Princely House had always spoken out against a deadline solution. Details:
      The law in its latest version: [doc]

    • Monaco
      On 24 April 2009, Albert II (Prince of Monaco) signed a law passed by the Parliament of the Principality a few days earlier, after several years of deliberation. It allows an abortion if the life or physical health of the pregnant woman is at risk, in case of severe damage to the foetus or after rape. The risk must be confirmed by two doctors. Minors need the consent of a parent. The procedure may only be performed in a public hospital. Experts expect about 5 to 10 cases per year. What looks like an extremely restrictive abortion law from the first half of the last century represents an important step forward for the principality. Under the protest of the Catholic dignitaries, Monaco has thus bid farewell to the group of countries that do not permit abortion under any circumstances. The Monegasque women who do not meet the strict conditions will continue to travel abroad to abort an unwanted pregnancy.

    • Malta
      Abortion is illegal and prohibited in all circumstances. Anyone performing an abortion – or a woman who performs one on herself or consents to the procedure – can be jailed for between 18 months and three years. A physician, surgeon, obstetrician, or pharmacist who performs an abortion faces a jail term of 18 months to four years and a lifelong ban from exercising his or her profession. The government and bishops on the island objected strongly to moves in 2000 to perform abortions on a ship in international waters off Malta.

    • Poland
      Abortion is only allowed under following circumstances:
      If the pregnancy is endangering the mother’s life or seriously jeopardizing her health.
      If it is needed to save the woman’s life or to prevent serious injury to her health.
      After rape or other sexual crime (the criminal act has to be confirmed by a prosecutor).! 22/01/97 on professional qualification of doctors permitted to perform an abortion or establish the risk of the woman’s life or the risk of fetal malformation.! 13/02/97 on qualifications of persons other than doctors empowered to counsel a pregnant woman intending to have an abortion; establishment of list of consultants and the rules for consultations.! Doctors performing abortions outside of stated grounds are subject to 2 years imprisonment
      Unclear implications of the new law. The law is more restrictive in practice. There is a lot of evidence that many women were denied legal abortions to which they were legally entitled, particularly when their health is endangered. This is mainly due to the lack of adequate regulations on the medical grounds for abortion. It depends only on the doctors’ position and it can be easily abused, because they are influenced by anti-choice campaigns.! According to the law, the government was obliged to promote family planning and to introduce sexuality education in schools. But up until 2003 this part of the law has not yet been implemented, and in fact both the knowledge and the use of contraception are low. Details [pdf]

    • San Marino
      The tiny European state of San Marino is to maintain its total ban on abortion. The country’s governing Grand and General Council voted to reject proposals to end the ban.
      The Gazzetta del Sud said the proposal had been put forward by the tiny republic’s two Captains Regent, who act as joint heads-of-state, but the council, which acts as the country’s parliament, voted by 27 members to 23 against legalising abortion.
      The council did, however, approve plans not to prosecute San Marino citizens who travel abroad to have abortions. The country has an area of just 24 square miles and is entirely surrounded by Italy, making it easy for women to travel across the border for a termination – abortion has been legal in Italy since 1978. Details [doc]