". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Report: U.S.’s Permissive Abortion Laws Highlight Need for Federal Protections

May 9, 2024

A recent study is declaring U.S. abortion law to be “far more permissive than the vast majority of the world.” In its 2024 report on “Gestational Limits on Abortion in the United States Compared to International Norms,” published last week, the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute found that the U.S. is one of only eight countries in the United Nations that allows abortion on demand without any gestational limits, and one of only 15 countries in the U.N. to allow abortion on demand past 15 weeks of pregnancy. The U.N. has 193 member states.

Other countries that place no gestational limit on elective abortions include Australia, Canada, China, Guinea-Bissau, Mexico, South Korea, and Vietnam. Only 70 U.N. member states allow abortion on demand, meaning abortions “without restriction as to reason,” which the report also refers to as elective abortions. The authors note, “The remaining 123 countries demonstrate a clear public policy preference for protecting human life over abortion by permitting abortion only under specified circumstances.” The U.S. is not among them, leading the Charlotte Lozier Institute to declare that current U.S. “abortion law is far more permissive than the vast majority of the world.”

Of the 70 U.N. member states that do allow abortion on demand, seven countries have pro-life protections before the 12th week of pregnancy, 38 countries have protections starting at the 12th week of pregnancy, 10 countries have protections between the 12th and 15th week of pregnancy, and only 15 allow abortion on demand beyond the 15th week of pregnancy, including the U.S.

Additionally, 46 out of 50 European countries in the U.N. have pro-life protections past the 15th week of pregnancy. The report notes, “The United States has a far more extreme abortion policy than those found in Europe.” Three countries in Europe (Andorra, Malta, and Vatican City) protect all unborn children outright, three others (Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Poland) have protections with exceptions to preserve the life or health of the mother, and the rest have various gestational limits placed on abortion. The report chides, “0 European countries permit abortion on demand without gestational limits, as the United States does.” Even in France, which became the first nation earlier this year to enshrine a “right” to abortion in its constitution, abortion is restricted to the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.

The report notes that while the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade did away with federal license for the slaughter of the unborn, there is not currently any federal pro-life law protecting babies from abortion on demand. “Consequently,” the report states, “29 states permit elective abortion past 15 weeks of gestation, and in at least 19 states, abortion drug prescribers are shielded from legal repercussions if they ship abortion pills into those states that restrict abortion from conception and/or that have health and safety requirements that apply to abortion-inducing drugs.” The report further notes that its “findings suggest that recent proposals in the United States to restrict abortion on demand past 15 weeks, which should serve as a minimum gestational limit, at the federal level would move the United States away from the fringe, ultra-permissive end of the spectrum.”

“Permitting abortion on demand past 15 weeks places the United States among the top 8% most permissive countries in the world (15 out of 193) based on gestational limits on abortion,” the report concludes. “The United States should seek to move away from the ultra-permissive fringe policies of the 14 other countries that permit abortion past 15 weeks and aim to protect life at even earlier gestational limits, as 178 other U.N member countries do — ranging from complete protection of the unborn to protecting the unborn after 15 weeks of gestation.”

In comments to The Washington Stand, Mary Szoch, Family Research Council’s director of the Center for Human Dignity, agreed with the Charlotte Lozier Institute’s findings. “The United States is the land of the free where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are considered inalienable rights given to each human being by our Creator, but at the same time, some states in our country allows unborn babies to be killed until the moment of birth,” Szoch said. “Who lives and who can be legally killed by an abortionist should not depend on which state a person was born in. The United States should champion the right to life for ALL people regardless of age, health, socioeconomic status, race, or any other qualifier.”

The Charlotte Lozier Institute published its first report on “Gestational Limits on Abortion in the United States Compared to International Norms” in 2014. At that time, the U.S. was one of seven countries that allowed elective abortions past the 20th week of pregnancy, and one of only 59 countries that allowed elective abortions at all. Even among those 59, more than three quarters have pro-life protections past the 12th week of pregnancy.

The latest report comes as Republican politicians and candidates waver on the pro-life issue, despite calls from conservative leaders to stand firm in defense of the unborn. Democrats, meanwhile, have made abortion the chief focus of their 2024 campaigns, often accusing pro-life Republicans of “extremism” on the issue.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.