WASHINGTON, D.C, February 25, 2014 ( – The United States and Canada's “ultra-permissive abortion policies” make them extreme outliers on the world stage when it comes to abortion, according to a new report from the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Only five other nations, including China and North Korea, are in the same league.


“The United States is one of only seven countries in the world that permit elective abortion past 20 weeks,” wrote Angelina Baglini in “Gestational Limits on Abortion in the United States Compared to International Norms.”

She studied abortion policy in 198 countries, independent states, or semi-autonomous zones with at least one million people. Of these, 139 have laws requiring the women to present a reason to procure an abortion.

More than two-thirds of the nations that allow abortion-on-demand, 36 of the remaining 59 countries, limit abortion at 12 weeks gestation, or the first trimester.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade decision allows abortion for any reason – or no reason – through viability, which was originally set at 28 weeks but reduced to 24 weeks in 1992. The companion case, Doe v. Bolton, offered broad grounds that essentially allowed abortion-on-demand throughout the pregnancy, absent state law.

Seven nations allow elective abortions after 20 weeks: the United States, Canada, China, North Korea, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The findings amplify the isolation of Canada, which is one of three nations to have no legal restrictions whatsoever on abortion.

Natalie Sonnen, executive director of LifeCanada, said in a press release that “Canada completely ignores pre-natal human life, and runs contrary to science, logic, and international humanitarian standards.”

The report comes as several states and the U.S. Congress are considering limiting abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy on the grounds that unborn babies that age are capable of feeling pain.

Congressman Trent Franks, R-AZ, introduced the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed the House last June by a 228-196 vote. Although the bill has been introduced in the Democrat-controlled Senate, there is no expectation that Majority Leader Harry Reid will bring it to the floor for a vote.

Polls have consistently found that women and young people are more likely to favor a 20 week abortion ban.

“Laws restricting abortion on demand after 20 weeks would move the bulk of North America away from the fringe and closer to the international mainstream,” Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, said in a press release.

The report could impact how jurists think about the issue of abortion restrictions.

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Several Supreme Court justices consider foreign law on par with the U.S. Constitution when determining whether a law is constitutional. The court's swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, cited the laws of other nations to strike down Texas' anti-sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, abolish the death penalty for minors in Roper v. Simons, and to liberalize criminal sentencing of minors in Graham v. Florida.