Abortion in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Abortion in Bosnia and Herzegovina is legal on request during the first ten weeks of pregnancy. Between ten and twenty weeks, an abortion must be approved by a committee, and is permitted when the woman's life or health is threatened, when the fetus is severely impaired, when the pregnancy results from a crime, and for psychosocial reasons. In all cases, women must undergo counseling first. [1] After 20 weeks, abortion is only permitted to save the woman's life or health. Only persons who perform illegal abortions are criminally punishable, never the women who undergo them.[2]

The legal status of abortion is governed by a 2008 law;[1] previously, it was governed by the Law of 7 October 1977, made when Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of Yugoslavia.[2]

As of 2001, the abortion rate was 1.4 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 years, one of the lowest in Europe.[3] The government has expressed concern about the higher rate among adolescents.[2]

Public opinion[edit]

In a Pew Research poll from 2017, the respondents from Bosnia and Hezegovina were evenly split between those who believed abortion should be legal in most cases (47%), and those who think it should be illegal in most cases (47%). However, there was a considerable divide between different ethnic and religious groups, with Catholics overwhelmingly against legal abortion (71%).[4]


  1. ^ a b "Law on the conditions and procedures for abortion, 20 March 2008" (in Bosnian). 20 March 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Abortion Policies: A Global Review (DOC). 2. United Nations Population Division. 2002. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  3. ^ "World Abortion Policies 2013". United Nations. 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  4. ^ http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2017/05/09154356/Central-and-Eastern-Europe-Topline_FINAL-FOR-PUBLICATION.pdf