Last fall, President Trump commented that the United States is one of only seven countries on earth that allows elective abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.
The Washington Post decided to fact-check this claim. After doing some research, they found the president was correct.
Out of 198 nations in the world, only 59 allow abortion on demand. Of those 59, only 7 — including the United States — permit elective abortions past the 20th week of pregnancy.
The Washington Post identified those 7 countries and their abortion laws, writing,
Here’s a look at the seven countries. We sorted them from the most liberal on gestational limits to the least:
- North Korea and Vietnam: No specified gestational limit, though regulatory mechanisms vary.
- China: “Abortion is virtually freely available in China, and there are no defined time limits for access to the procedure,” according to Pew Research Center. China now has a “two-child” policy, and human-rights advocates have criticized China’s population and family planning laws.
- United States: No federal ban on gestational limit, but 43 states have prohibitions on gestational limits, from 20 to 24 weeks, or the point of “viability,” according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research group. There are some exceptions made, usually for the life or health of the mother.
- Canada: No federal gestational limit, but provinces and territories vary as to whether they will offer abortion services after a certain gestational age. Some offer abortion services up to 12 weeks, others up to 24 weeks. (This is similar to how states operate in the U.S.) Abortions after 20 weeks are not always readily available for Canadians, so women are often referred to a clinic in the United States, according to an abortion rights group in Canada. These procedures may be paid in full or in part by provincial governments.
- Netherlands: Abortions are allowed up to 24 weeks. After that period, abortions are allowed only if the unborn fetus has an untreatable disease and would have little to no chance of survival after birth, or for the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.
- Singapore: Abortions are allowed up to 24 weeks. After that, abortions are only allowed to save the life of, or for the physical or mental health of, the pregnant woman.
In other words, out of all the countries on earth, only three have abortion laws that are more lax than the United States’: North Korea, Vietnam, and China.
That’s likely to come as a shock to many. Unfortunately, that is the legal landscape the U.S. Supreme Court has created with rulings like Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
However, it’s important to note that while pro-life legislation has languished at the federal level, states like Arkansas have passed significant laws in recent years protecting unborn children — and we are winning some major victories in court. Abortion numbers have fallen to record lows, and recent polling shows Arkansans are overwhelmingly pro-life.
Slowly but surely, we are winning the fight to protect the unborn.
Jerry is the founder and president of Family Council. He began Family Council in 1989 after a successful effort to amend the Arkansas Constitution to prevent the use of public funds for abortions. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.