IMO European countries have sensible abortion laws, and they're very similar from nation to nation.
Abortion in France
Legal on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions at later stages of pregnancy are allowed if two physicians certify that the abortion will be done to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; a risk to the life of the pregnant woman; or that the child will suffer from a particularly severe illness recognized as incurable. The abortion law was liberalized by the Veil Law in 1975.
Abortion in Germany
Illegal, though allowed during the first trimester of pregnancy provided certain circumstances are met. Pregnancy is considered to start with the uterine implantation of a fertilized egg. Exceptions later in pregnancy for physical or mental health reasons are also legal. Before an abortion, patients must undergo mandatory counseling, called Schwangerschaftskonfliktberatung ("pregnancy-conflict counseling") except in cases of rape. Counseling happens at least least three days prior to the abortion and must take place at a state-approved centre, which afterwards gives the applicant a Beratungsschein ("certificate of counseling"). Abortions that do not meet these conditions are illegal.
Abortion in the United Kingdom
Legally available through the Abortion Act 1967 in Great Britain, and the Abortion (Northern Ireland) (No.2) Regulations 2020.
In Britain, abortion is permitted on the grounds of:
- risk to the life of the pregnant woman;
- preventing grave permanent injury to her physical or mental health;
- risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family (up to a term limit of 24 weeks of gestation); or
- substantial risk that, if the child were born, he or she would "suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped".
In Northern Ireland, abortion is permitted on similar grounds although the law also permits abortion in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, for any reason, as is also the case in the rest of Ireland.
Abortion in Norway
On request in the first 12 weeks of gestation, by application up to the 18th week, and thereafter only under special circumstances until the fetus is viable, which is usually presumed at 21 weeks and 6 days.
Abortion in Sweden
First legislated by the Abortion Act of 1938. This stated that an abortion could be legally performed in Sweden upon medical, humanitarian, or eugenical grounds. That is, if the pregnancy constituted a serious threat to the woman's life, if she had been impregnated by rape, or if there was a considerable chance that any serious condition might be inherited by her child, she could request an abortion. The law was later augmented in 1946 to include socio-medical grounds and again in 1963 to include the risk of serious fetal damage. A committee investigated whether these conditions were met in each individual case and, as a result of this prolonged process, abortion was often not granted until the middle of the second trimester. As such, a new law was created in 1974, stating that the choice of an abortion is entirely up to the woman until the end of the 18th week.
Abortion in Denmark
Fully legalized on 1 October 1973, allowing the procedure to be done on-demand if a woman's pregnancy has not exceeded its 12th week. Under Danish law, the patient must be over the age of 18 to decide on an abortion alone; parental consent is required for minors, except in special circumstances. An abortion can be performed after 12 weeks if the woman's life or health are in danger.
Abortion in Italy
Became legal in May 1978, when Italian women were allowed to terminate a pregnancy on request during the first 90 days. A proposal to repeal the law was considered in a 1981 referendum, but was rejected by nearly 68% of voters; another referendum aimed at eliminating the restrictions was rejected by 88.4%.
Italian women are eligible to request an abortion for health, economic or social reasons, including the circumstances under which conception occurred. Abortions are performed free of charge in public hospitals or in private structures authorized by the regional health authorities. The law also allows termination in the second trimester of the pregnancy only when the life of the woman would be at risk if the pregnancy is carried to term or the fetus carries genetic or other serious malformations which would put the mother at risk of serious psychological or physical consequences.
The law states that, unless a state of emergency requires immediate intervention, a period of seven days, not compulsory, has to occur between the medical authorization and the effective date of the termination. Although the law only permits pregnancy termination to women at least eighteen years old, it also includes provisions for women younger than eighteen, who can request the intervention of a judge when the legal tutor refuses the intervention, or there are reasons to exclude the legal tutor from the process. The judge has to make a decision within five days of the request. Women younger than eighteen do not need parental consent in case of urgent situation or after 90 days.
IMO the problem with allowing states to decide abortion laws is that there are a number of states that have passed IMO unreasonable abortion laws that effectively outlaw it altogether.
This year has seen several states sign stricter abortion laws, with Oklahoma, Idaho and South Carolina also banning the medical procedure at the onset of a fetal heartbeat.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed new legislation on Wednesday that will ban abortion at the onset of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The ban is one of the strictest abortion laws in the country, as most women are not even aware they are pregnant by the time of the onset of a heartbeat.
Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana are even stricter, as they ban abortion at six weeks, with Missouri not far behind as the procedure is prohibited at eight weeks of gestation.
Arkansas also passed legislation in 2021 that would make abortion in the state an unclassified felony unless a procedure is undertaken to save the life of a pregnant woman.
The strictest abortion law in the U.S. is in Alabama, as legislation signed in 2019 bans the procedure at any stage of a pregnancy, with doctors facing the possibility of life imprisonment for performing one.
Six states, Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky, South Dakota, North Dakota and West Virginia, only have one abortion clinic left, making it very difficult for residents to get the procedure, according to the Guttmacher Institute.