The Survey looks at the relevant legislation on abortion care in 42 countries, but crucially it also explores how these laws are interpreted by providers and experienced by women and girls. It is designed to provide an overview of women’s and girls’ experience around accessing abortion care, to highlight current threats to their reproductive health and rights, to identify ‘best-fit’ practices and to stimulate further debate and research.
The Survey is not a research paper, but rather a synthesis of the expertise and understanding of our Members and Partners working in the field and serving women every day.
The report begins by situating abortion care as an essential component of women’s reproductive health, as defined within the broader framework of international human rights law, specifically the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health. It then examines to what extent current provision within national borders aligns with or deviates from state obligations to care for and value equally women and girls. It covers four key areas: the criminalisation of abortion; the various grounds available to women and girls to access abortion care and the time limits imposed thereon; the additional institutional and procedural hurdles to abortion care; and finally, the significant financial burden inflicted on women and girls when accessing care across the region.
For each section, the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ country scenarios have been referenced to highlight how differently a particular barrier to care might be implemented and then experienced by women and girls across Europe and Central Asia.