Abortion-rights movements advocate for legal access to abortion. The issue of abortion remains divisive in public life, with recurring arguments to liberalize or to restrict access to legal abortion. Abortion-rights campaigners themselves are frequently divided as to the types of abortion that should be available and to what extent access is to be restricted.
Abortion-rights advocacy in the United States is centered in the United States pro-choice movement.
South Africa allows abortion on demand under its Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act. Most African nations, however, have abortion bans except in cases where the woman's life or health is at risk. A number of abortion-rights international organizations have made altering abortion laws and expanding family planning services in sub-Saharan Africa and the developing world a top priority.
Most European countries have legalized abortion (in at least some cases) through certain laws (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, etc.). Russia legalized the procedure in 1955.
Abortion is illegal in the Republic of Ireland except when the woman's life is threatened by a medical condition or a suicide risk, since a 1983 referendum amended the constitution. Subsequent amendments – the thirteenth and fourteenth – guaranteed the right to travel abroad (for abortions) and to distribute and obtain information of "services" not available in the country, such as abortion, which are lawful in other countries. A proposal to remove suicide risk as a ground for abortion was struck down in a 2002 referendum. Thousands of women get around the ban by privately traveling to the other European countries (typically Britain and the Netherlands) to undergo terminations.
The Labour Party, Communist Party, Socialist Party and Irish Republican Socialist Party are in favor of liberalizing the laws. For many other parties (such as the Green Party), it is a 'matter of conscience' and they have no official line on the issue.
Abortion is illegal in Poland unless the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, the pregnancy was the result of a criminal act or the fetus is seriously malformed. Abortion was legalized by the Soviet Union throughout its rule of Poland, but this policy was abandoned after the fall of the USSR.
- puts the life of the pregnant woman at risk
- poses a risk to the mental and physical health of the pregnant woman
- poses a risk to the mental and physical health of the fetus
- shows there is evidence of extreme fetal abnormality i.e. the child would be seriously physically or mentally handicapped after birth and during life.
However, the criterion of risk to mental and physical health is applied broadly, and de facto makes abortion available on demand, though this still requires the consent of two National Health Service doctors. Abortions in Great Britain are provided at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient by the NHS.
The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats are predominantly pro-abortion-rights parties, though with significant minorities in each either holding more restrictive definitions of the right to choose, or subscribing to an anti-abortion analysis. The Conservative Party is more evenly split between both camps and its leader, David Cameron, supports abortion on demand in the early stages of pregnancy.
- World Abortion Policies 2007, United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division.
- Greenall, Robert (2003-09-16). "Russia turns spotlight on abortion". BBC News Online (BBC News). Retrieved 2006-07-07.
- BBC News – Irish teen wins abortion battle
- Choice Ireland – Irish political parties: Where do they stand?
- Rex v Bourne  1 KB 687,  3 All ER 615, CCA
- "Q&A: Abortion in Northern Ireland". BBC News. June 13, 2001. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "Rozporządzenie Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej". Wayback Machine. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "MPs reject cut in abortion limit". BBC News. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Official text of the Abortion Act 1967 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from the UK Statute Law Database .
- R v British Broadcasting Corporation, ex parte ProLife Alliance  EWCA Civ 297 at ,  2 All ER 756 at 761, CA
- David Cameron supports abortion on demand, Catholic Herald, 20 June 2008.
- Guttmacher Institute
- Abortion Access and Information
- Australia's Women's Abortion Action Campaign