As Donald Trump was appointed president-elect, women across the United States started fearing that they will soon lose their right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. While abortions are legal in our country, some states are already enforcing draconic legislation. However, the US is lenient when it comes to the procedure, some small countries being more tyrannical when it comes to women’s right. Here are the countries with the strictest abortion laws.
Malta has the strictest abortion laws in the world. Female citizens are prohibited from ending their pregnancies even if the child is the result of incest or rape. Not even fetal impairment or the mother’s life are exempt from the law.
Women and doctors who break the law risk incarceration. The maximum penalty is of three years for both guilty parties.
The small archipelago is inhabited by a profoundly Catholic community, all citizens abiding the Vatican law. It is easy to understand why they frowned upon abortion when divorce was an illegal practice in the country until 2011.
El Salvador is also a worthy opponent in the battle for the strictest abortion laws. Apart from prohibiting any type of abortion, even if the mother is in danger of losing her life or if the baby will have to live with life-altering defects, El Salvador also has a tyrannical view on reproductive rights.
According to the law, women who willingly terminate their pregnancy face up to eight years of jail time. Moreover, the unlucky women who experience a miscarriage can be accused of aggravated murder and spend 40 years in prison.
Due to the country’s strict Catholic practices, women are not educated in pregnancy prevention methods, leaving them unable to take precautionary measures to avoid getting pregnant.
Chilean women are also forbidden to terminate their pregnancies. President Michelle Bachelet has tried to tweak the law and introduce certain exemption, but her efforts were in vain as the total ban on abortions is still in effect.
Women who undergo the procedure risk up to five years in prison. However, during recent years, all women who sought out to terminate their pregnancies were sentenced to probation.
At the beginning of last year, Michelle Bachelet introduced a new bill stating that if a pregnancy is the result of rape, or if the fetus is unviable or has a congenital defect, or if the mother’s life is at risk, then the woman is allowed to get an abortion.
Ireland law only allows women to get an abortion in the case of an immediate suicide risk or a medical emergency.
The rights of unborn children are recognized by the Irish Constitution, the law stipulating that abortion is murder. According to IFPA, last year 10 Irish women crossed the border to England in order to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
Moreover, Irish women are forced to pay up to £1,395 for the procedure, while women from Wales, Scotland, and England get the procedure for free as long as two different doctors approve it.
The strict Irish abortion laws were put under the spotlight in 2012 when doctors did nothing to save the life of Savita Halappanavar, a woman who suffered a life-threatening miscarriage. One year later, the gruesome incident sparked lawmakers to introduce a new policy claiming that women are allowed to terminate a pregnancy as long in order to save their life, but not to avoid health complications.
In Northern Ireland, women who get an abortion face life in prison while in the Republic of Ireland a woman who terminates a pregnancy can spend 14 years behind bars.
By comparison, the Chinese State freely provides abortions. However, there is a catch. The country has a strict one-child-only policy, doctors offering a wide array of contraceptive methods to Chinese women. Moreover, if a woman gets pregnant with a second child, then the authorities force her to get an abortion as by the country’s law.
In a 2013 piece, investigative journalists from The Guardian interviewed several women from the Guangxi province. They recounted horrific incidents where doctors and nurses performed abortions on eight-month pregnancies, ripping live babies out of the mothers’ wombs.
China is situated at the opposite pole from Malta or El Salvador, but it is still an extreme position. Researchers have found that the countries with the strictest abortion laws also have the highest mortality rates, women dying while trying to induce a miscarriage.
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