Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz
Sat, January 22, 2022
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said last month that the United States was an international outlier in allowing abortion more than halfway through pregnancy. That later cutoff, he said, places the U.S. in the company of North Korea and China.
It’s true in some ways, but not all. Few countries allow abortion without restriction until fetal viability, the cutoff set by Roe v. Wade, which was decided 49 years ago today. Because of medical advances, that is now around 23 weeks. And only around a dozen other countries allow abortions for any reason beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy, the threshold in the Mississippi law the Supreme Court is considering, which could overturn Roe.
But in many countries, women can get an abortion after the gestational cutoff — for a wide variety of reasons, like health or economic ones. In some, it can be easier to obtain an abortion than in many parts of the U.S. Also, peer countries tend to have more abortion providers, and cover the costs of abortions.