To the average low-information voter, it is likely assumed that Europe would have a more lax attitude toward abortion since Europe tends to be more secular and leftist than the United States. However, a comparative look at abortion laws reveals that Europe is more pro-life than America is.
Radio host Elisha Krauss breaks down the various abortion laws in America and Europe in Prager University's latest video, prefacing with the following quote from The Atlantic's Emily Matchar: "I assumed that Western Europe would be the land of abortion on demand…But as it turns out, abortion laws in Europe are both more restrictive and more complicated than that. Waiting periods, decried by American pro-choicers as...unreasonably burdensome, are common…"
Matchar is correct, as here are the specifics of the abortion laws in America:
- Abortions can be legally performed throughout the country up to 20 weeks in the pregnancy.
- Eleven states prohibit abortions beyond 20 weeks in the pregnancy.
- Twenty states make it illegal to perform abortions when the baby can survive outside the womb, which is typically in the 23-25 week timeframe.
- Abortions beyond the 28th week of pregnancy are illegal in three states.
- Seven states and Washington, D.C. allow for abortions on-demand.
By contrast, here are the abortion laws in various European laws:
- Germany: Abortions beyond the 12th week of pregnancy are illegal, and before then women have to undergo a three-day waiting period and counseling session in order to have an abortion. As Krauss points out, Germany's laws are more restrictive than Texas's abortion laws.
- Belgium: Abortions are also illegal after the 12th week of pregnancy, with an exception for if the mother's life is in danger. Abortions can only be performed after a six-day wait and medical discussion.
- Denmark: Abortions legal until 12 weeks, when restrictions kick in.
- Finland: Abortions on-demand are allowed for the first 12 weeks, and after that point women need to give "a compelling reason" for an abortion.
- France: The first 12 weeks of pregnancy provide an opening for abortions on-demand, but beyond that there are restrictions.
- Sweden: The country Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) adores allows for abortions until the 18th week of pregnancy, and most are illegal beyond 22 weeks. Between the 18-22 weeks, abortions are only legal if has the National Board of Health and Welfare's stamp of approval.
- Netherlands: Women have to undergo a five-day waiting period and counseling to entertain all available options before having an abortion. Girls under the age of 18 are not allowed to have an abortion without her parents' approval.
- Norway: Abortions are illegal after the 22nd week of pregnancy. When it was reported in 2014, that 17 babies since 2001 were aborted beyond that cutoff point, it set off a media firestorm in the country.
Why does leftist and secular Europe see abortion differently than leftists in America, who support abortion on demand without any restrictions?
"Europeans seem to recognize that abortion is a complex moral issue; that ending a life after a certain point in a pregnancy does not reflect well on a society," Krauss explains. "Why is it so hard for American Progressives to recognize the same?"