America's abortion allies: North Korea, China, Vietnam

by Gina Diorio
Posted 3/03/14, 10:22 am

The United States is one of only seven nations worldwide that permits elective abortion after 20 weeks, according to a report recently released by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education and research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List.

The report—which examined gestational limits and abortion laws in 198 countries, independent sates, and semi-autonomous regions with populations of more than 1 million—found both the United States and Canada rank alongside known human rights abusers North Korea, Vietnam, and China in permissive abortion laws. 

In the United States, this means allowing abortion on demand, with no restrictions, up to the point of fetal viability, usually placed at 24 weeks. 

Chuck Donovan, president of the Lozier Institute, told me that the recent study differs from previous studies in that it specifically looked at limits on abortion at 20 weeks, while previous studies have used the standard of viability, examining abortion up to 24 weeks. “As the study confirmed, the United States, even at 20 weeks, is a much more liberal nation than the rest of the planet,” Donovan said.

Of the 198 nations studied, the vast majority—139—requires some reason for obtaining an abortion. Of the 59 nations permitting “elective” abortion, or abortion on demand with no reason required, nine countries have limits on abortions prior to 12 weeks, and 36 restrict elective abortions at 12 weeks. Another six countries have limits between 12 and 20 weeks. Seven countries allow elective abortions after 20 weeks. 

Of the seven nations allowing abortions past 20 weeks, both Singapore and The Netherlands allow elective abortions up to 24 weeks, while Canada, China, North Korea, and Vietnam have no legal restrictions.

“It is an abuse of human rights,” Donovan said. “We are ranked with some exceedingly brutal countries that take no account of life before birth. … At the end of the day, we have some very unsavory company.” 

The study notes that the “clear norm” among nations allowing elective abortions is to limit them to before 20 weeks, with limits at 12 weeks being even more common.

“We’d still be extremely liberal at [a] 12 week standard, but we’d at least be moving closer to the international norm,” Donovan said.

He noted the disconnect between typically liberal judges who often point to the international community on issues like capital punishment, accusing the United States of being an “outlier,” and the absence of similar observations when it comes to abortion. “Why don’t they ask this question for abortion?” Donovan asked. 

The study concludes by noting that America has seen interest and activity at both the federal and state level in restricting elective abortions past 20 weeks. “Twenty-week abortion laws in the United States are neither extreme nor unreasonable,” the study notes. “Rather, they move the United States closer to international norms of legislating what is safe and healthy for the mother and what grants unborn children more protection in the womb.”