From an article by Stanley K. Henshaw in a recent edition of Family Planning Perspectives:
Theworldwide trend toward liberalization of abortion laws has continued in the last four years with changes in Canada, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, the Soviet Union and Vietnam. Forty percent of the world's population now lives in countries where induced abortion is permitted on request, and 25 percent lives where it is allowed only if the woman's life is in danger.
In 1987, an estimated 26 to 31 million legal abortions and 10 to 22 million clandestine abortions were performed worldwide. Legal abortion rates ranged from a high of at least 112 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age in the Soviet Union to a low of five per 1,000 in the Netherlands. In recent years, abortion rates have been increasing in Czechoslovakia, England and Wales, New Zealand and Sweden and declining in China, France, Iceland, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands.
In most Western European and English-speaking countries, about half of abortions are obtained by young, unmarried women seeking to delay a first birth, while in Eastern Europe and the developing countries, abortion is most common among married women with two or more children.
Mortality from legal abortion averages 0.6 deaths per 100,000 procedures in developed countries with data. Abortion services are increasingly being provided outside of hospitals, and for those performed in hospitals, overnight stays are becoming less common. National health insurance covers abortions needed to preserve the health of a pregnant woman in all developed countries except the United States, where Medicaid and federal insurance programs do not cover abortion unless the woman's life is in danger.