How the U.S. compares with the rest of the world on abortion rights

Jul 1, 2022

The past 50 years have been characterized by an unmistakable trend toward the liberalization of abortion laws, particularly in the industrialized world.

Each year, around 73 million abortions take place worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. This translates to about 39 abortions per 1,000 women globally, a rate that has stayed roughly the same since 1990. Notably, rates have diverged between countries with fewer restrictions and those with more: Between 1990–94 and 2015–19, the average abortion rate in countries with generally legal abortion (excluding China and India) declined by 43 percent.