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World Abortion Laws 2008 Fact Sheet

Currently, over 60% of the world's people live in countries where induced abortion is permitted either for a wide range of reasons or without restriction as to reason. In contrast, about 26% of all people reside in countries where abortion is generally prohibited.

The table below illustrates the varying degrees to which countries worldwide permit access to abortion. Countries in Category I have the most restrictive laws. Those in each subsequent category recognize the grounds specified in the preceding category as well as additional grounds. Depending on such factors as public opinion, the views of government officials and providers, and individual circumstances, laws in each category may be interpreted more broadly or restrictively than indicated by their classifications below.