Ireland votes on abortion

Abortion Not Allowed in These European Countries

As Ireland votes on abortion, we looked at the countries with the most restrictive abortion laws.

WHILE Ireland holds a referendum on Friday to vote for a change on its laws governing abortion, other European countries still embrace legislation that doesn’t allow the procedure or permit it under very specific circumstances. Malta, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Poland, the Vatican, Monaco, and Andorra each have rules that separate them from the rest of the continent.

“In Europe, the standard approach that almost all European countries have taken has been to legalize women’s access to abortion on request or on the socioeconomic ground,” says Leah Hoctor, Europe regional director for the Center for Reproductive Rights, an international advocacy organization. “Twenty-five out of 28 European Union countries have done that and 40 out of 47 Council of Europe (member) countries have taken that approach.”

In Ireland, the vote is considered too close to call. The Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution states that an unborn child has the same rights as the mother, making it almost impossible for a woman to end a pregnancy voluntarily. “The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right,” reads the article in the Constitution.

Abortion is one of the most controversial topics in Ireland, with the United Nations criticizing the country for “cruel” and “inhumane” laws that hinder women from choosing whether to become mothers or not. According to data compiled by the Center for Reproductive Rights in Europe, abortion in Ireland is only allowed in situations when the woman’s life is in danger and the restriction has even led to calls for international lawsuits against the country’s legislature.

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