Abortion in Belarus has been legal since November 23, 1955, when Belarus was a republic of the Soviet Union. The current abortion legislation dates from December 31, 1987 and is one of the most liberal abortion laws in Europe, allowing on-demand abortion until the twenty-eighth week of pregnancy for a variety of reasons.
The 1987 law allows abortion on-demand for the traditional reasons of harm or death to the fetus and/or mother, rape and incest, as well as: the death of the husband during pregnancy, a jail sentence for either the mother or father, a court order stripping the pregnant woman of parental rights, if a household already exceeds five children, if the relationship between mother and father ends in divorce, or a family history which includes mental or physical disabilities.
Once a popular method of birth control, abortions exceeded live births two-to-one in 1995. The rate has now fallen by over 75%, with abortions numbering 42,000 (or 39% of the live birth rate) in 2008.
As of 2010[update], the abortion rate was 14.7 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 years.