The Supreme Court struck down Texas abortion restrictions on Monday in a decision that means similar rules in other states will likely be unconstitutional. Our colleague Robert Barnes wrote that the 5-3 ruling is "a resounding win for abortion rights advocates in the court’s most important consideration of the controversial issue in 25 years."

In 2013, the United Nations published an extensive report on abortion policies all over the world. Although some details may have changed since then, the data provides striking insights that are worth considering amid the continuing U.S. debate.

(This post has been updated.)


At least 71 countries allowed abortion "to preserve a woman's physical or mental health" in 2013. Moreover, 50 countries permitted abortion "to save a woman's life."


Overall, most have laws that restrict abortions. Only 70 countries have policies allowing abortions for economic or social reasons or on request.

Let's take a look at where those countries are located. Generally, it seems, the more northern a country is on the map, the fewer restrictions appear to be in place.


The only regions with countries that prohibit abortion are Europe (Holy See, Malta) and Latin America as well as the Caribbean (Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua).


Nations in Africa in particular, but also in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Oceania tend to have the strictest rules.


In Latin America and the Caribbean, countries with the harshest stances border some countries with fewer restrictions.


Latin America is also where restrictions have increased most between 2005 and 2013 -- whereas restrictions actually declined in some Asian, African and European countries.


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Supreme Court strikes down Texas abortion clinic restrictions