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This is the legal situation in other European countries


Abortions are generally punishable in Germany. A relaxation of abortion rights is now being discussed. What is the legal situation in other European countries?


In the Netherlands, abortions are possible up to the 24th week of pregnancy, or later if there are serious health problems during pregnancy. Women can go directly to one of the country's abortion clinics for an abortion – there are counseling services available, but there is no obligation to use them. A previously prescribed five-day cooling-off period has no longer existed since 2023.

The costs of an abortion are borne by the state or the health insurance company. It is planned that in future family doctors will also be able to prescribe a medication abortion (abortion pill) up to the ninth week of pregnancy. An abortion is only punishable in the Netherlands if it is not carried out in a hospital according to the rules.


In France, abortions up to the tenth week of pregnancy have been unpunished since 1975. Pregnant women are now allowed to have an abortion up to the 14th week, and the health insurance company covers the costs. A psychosocial consultation is only mandatory for minors. Given the tightening of abortion regulations elsewhere in the world in recent years, France has decided to strengthen abortion rights and protect against possible future circumcisions.

Just over a month ago, Parliament voted to include the “guaranteed freedom” to have an abortion in the constitution. According to Paris, France is the first country to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution.


In Italy, abortions are generally possible up to the twelfth week of pregnancy. However, a corresponding law from 1978 provides for certain requirements. Mandatory counseling is required before an abortion. The consultation is followed by a reflection period of seven days.

A medical abortion is possible within the first nine weeks of pregnancy, but a surgical procedure using so-called suction is possible up to the twelfth week of pregnancy. Since taking office, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's right-wing government in Rome has repeatedly emphasized that it does not want to make any changes to abortion law.


The Irish voted to legalize abortion in a referendum in 2018. Since January 1, 2019, abortions have been permitted in the first twelve weeks of a pregnancy. If the life or health of the pregnant woman is at risk or it is likely that the baby will die in the womb or in the first four weeks after birth, this is also possible later.

The maximum period of 84 days of pregnancy applies from the first day of the woman's last period. A doctor must confirm that the twelve weeks are not yet over. The abortion can be performed three days later. This legally prescribed period of time is intended to give the pregnant woman the opportunity to be sure of herself.


Currently, Poland has one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. Since 2020, abortion up to the 12th week is only permitted after rape or incest – or if the pregnant woman's life is in danger. If the unborn child has severe malformations, women are not allowed to have an abortion. In the past, this has repeatedly resulted in pregnant women with complications dying in hospital under medical supervision because doctors did not dare to carry out an abortion.

The parliament in Warsaw recently spoke out in favor of liberalizing abortion rights. The easing was one of Prime Minister Donald Tusk's central promises during the election campaign, but his three-party coalition is still arguing about what a solution should actually look like.

Source: dpa

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