FACTBOX-10 facts on abortion as Northern Ireland lifts restrictions

by K. Sophie Will | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 22 October 2019 10:10 GMT

Pro-choice demonstrators take part in a march in Belfast, Northern Ireland September 7, 2019. REUTERS/John Sibley

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Some 90 million women of reproductive age, or 5% of the global total, live in countries where abortion is banned completely

By K. Sophie Will

LONDON, Oct 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Northern Ireland legalised abortion and same-sex marriage at midnight on Monday when a July vote came into effect.

The British province was the only remaining part of the United Kingdom to uphold bans on same-sex marriage and abortion except where a mother's life is at risk.

Here are 10 facts about abortion laws worldwide:

1. Some 90 million women of reproductive age, or 5% of the global total, live in countries where abortion is banned completely.

2. The maternal mortality ratio is three times higher in countries with stricter abortion laws - with 223 deaths per 100,000 live births - than in those with less restrictive laws - with 77 deaths per 100,000 live births.

3. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year-old girls worldwide.

4. Nearly 50 countries have liberalised their abortion laws in the last quarter century, with about 60% of women of reproductive age living in countries that broadly allow abortion.

5. Ireland legalised abortion in a 2018 referendum after voters in the once deeply Catholic nation backed the change by two-to-one.

6. South Korea's high court overturned a ban on abortion in April that had stood for more than 65 years, saying that the law unconstitutionally curbed women's rights.

7. About 25 million unsafe abortions take place every year, mostly in developing countries.

8. Abortion rates in countries with restrictive laws and rates in countries with broadly permissive laws are not significantly different.

9. Since 1990, abortion rates in developed countries have declined by 41%, while rates in developing countries have remained constant.

10. Five U.S. states - Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and Louisiana - have enacted legislation which outlaws abortion after about six weeks. Sources: Thomson Reuters Foundation, Reuters, World Health Organization, Center for Reproductive Rights, Amnesty International. (Additional reporting by Oscar Lopez in Mexico City, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)

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