The Complete Global Map of Abortion and Birth Control Laws

A partnership of Slate and the New America Foundation.
May 30 2013 1:48 PM

Reproductive Rights Around the World

The complete global map of laws governing abortion and birth control.

On Wednesday, the highest court in El Salvador denied an abortion to a woman with a pregnancy that is so high-risk that doctors say it could kill her. Beatriz, 22, is carrying a 26-week fetus with anencephaly, a birth defect that means part of the brain and skull are missing and that the baby will almost certainly die at birth. Beatriz’s doctors say the abortion is necessary for Beatriz’s health and perhaps to save her life. But by a vote of 4–1, the Salvadoran judges ruled that in light of the country’s absolute ban on abortion, “the rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those” of the fetus.

El Salvador’s complete ban on abortions has become relatively rare worldwide, as the first map below shows. Keep scrolling and you will see enormous variation in how countries (and states in the U.S.) regulate abortion and birth control. Our main sources of data for these maps are the United Nations, the Guttmacher Institute, the Population Reference Bureau, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Harvard University's Center for Population and Development Studies. (The maps on global contraception regulations largely reflect data drawn from a 2009 study conducted by researchers at Harvard University's Center for Population and Development Studies. Global contraceptive use statistics come from a 2008 survey by the Population Reference Bureau.)

The maps reflect continuing change: Uruguay recently legalized first-trimester abortions, and courts in Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina have begun to allow them in certain cases.* Meanwhile in the United States, Republican-led statehouses have been tightening restrictions since the 2010 election. It’s the largest wave of legislation in the decades since Roe v. Wade.

Abortion: Laws by country

Legality
Spousal consent
Parental consent

Abortion: Exceptions by country

Rape
Incest
Life of mother
Physical health of mother
Mental health of mother
Fetal impairment
Socioeconomic
Others

Contraception: Birth control pill laws by country

Sale of the Pill
Pill sale location
Prescription required?
Pill subsidy
Pill advertising
Percentage of women on pill

Contraception: IUD laws by country

IUD legality
IUD installation
Percentage of women using IUD

Contraception: Condom laws by country

Condom subsidy
Condom advertising
Percentage of women using condoms

Abortion: Laws by state

Legality before Roe v. Wade
Trigger laws
Waiting period
Counseling requirement
Requirements for minors
Abortion providers

Contraception: Contraception laws by state

Insurance
Hospitals and Emergency Contraception
Affirm access for minors?

Update, May 31, 2013: The first map has been changed to distinguish countries in which abortion is permitted for any reason, countries in which abortion is permitted for specified reasons, and countries in which abortion is never permitted.

Update, June 4, 2013: This page was updated with additional details on the source for the data on the map of contraception rights.

Corrections, May 31, 2013: In the interactive displaying abortion laws by country, a map originally claimed that the U.S. requires spousal consent in some states. While eight states do have spousal consent laws, they are not enforced because of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Additionally, some of maps of the U.S. originally suggested that some states require minors to have parental consent before accessing contraceptives. In fact, the laws for those states don't say whether minors can consent to contraceptives on their own or not. Maps regarding parental consent have been removed. This article also misspelled Colombia.

Correction June 3, 2013: The world maps in these interactives originally mislabeled Cameroon as Cape Verde and shaded Cameroon according to the data for Cape Verde.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?