☷   ABORTION LEGISLATION - Legal grounds for abortion in Europe

In most European countries, the law allows abortion on request or provides such broad grounds on which abortion is permitted that it has been interpreted as allowing abortion on request. Nevertheless, access to abortion remains restricted in some countries.

hide - Abortion legalisation dates in Europe

High disparity is observed in Europe in abortion legalisation dates. Abortion could be considered to be legal since the 1950s in the countries under the former Soviet Union. - On request abortion limit in Europe

Where abortion on request is legal, the upper time limit ranges between 10 and 22 weeks from the last menstrual period (LMP). - Mandatory written consent in Europe

Few countries in Europe give women unrestricted access to abortion. Most require some conditions to be fulfilled. Procurement of written consent by women before abortion is one of these conditions. Written consent is to be obtained in all countries allowing abortion on request except Austria, Bulgaria, Sweden, and Great Britain (i.e., England, Wales, Scotland). - Mandatory waiting period in Europe

The mandatory waiting period between the pre-abortion and abortion visits is one of the conditions restricting women access to abortion. This waiting period is mandatory in some European countries and lasts between 2 and 7 days according to the country.

In France, this waiting period has been removed in 2016; nevertheless, a 2-day waiting period is mandatory when the woman visits the social worker before abortion. This visit is mandatory for minors. - Age limit for parent’s or guardian’s consent in Europe

Some countries in Europe restrict access to abortion for young women. In these countries, parents’ (or guardians’) consent is required prior to abortion. The age limit for parental consent varies between 13 and 18 years according to the country.




Abortion legislation | Practical conditions | Abortion statistics | Characteristics of women having induced abortion
Fertility and contraception data | Other information 


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☷   PRACTICAL CONDITIONS - Medical abortion: gestational limit in Europe

Medical abortion was introduced in Europe in 1988. Since then, it has been increasingly used. Today, women have access to medical abortion in most European countries. However, in some countries, there is a time limit for use. The gestational age limit which is calculated from the last menstrual period (LMP) widely varies according to the country.


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☷   ABORTION STATISTICS - Abortion rates in Europe

Abortion rate is the number of reported legal abortions per 1,000 women between 15 and 49 years of age (44 years in some countries). Abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 15-49 widely varies across Europe.



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☷   CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMEN HAVING INDUCED ABORTION - Percentage induced abortions before or after 30 in Europe

Women who had abortion were more commonly aged 30 years and over in some countries, in particular in Poland, Slovenia, and Czech Republic.



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☷   FERTILITY AND CONTRACEPTION DATA - Fertility rates in Europe

The fertility rate is the ratio of the number of children born during the considered year and the number of women aged 15-49 years (i.e., in age of childbearing). The average fertility rate in Europe is close to 1.6. The lowest fertility rates are commonly observed in Southern European countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal). France has the highest fertility rate.



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☷   OTHER INFORMATION - Abortion reimbursement in Europe

In several European countries, women have to pay for abortion.



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Page updated in July 2022