“The right to safe and legal abortion is under pressure around the world. We need to make sure the clock is not being turned back.” With these words MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld opened the webinar held on the international day for safe abortion. The webinar launched the new European Abortion policies Atlas. The Atlas compares European countries in women’s access to abortion. Belgium figures in the European top 10 but lags the UK, Scandinavia and neighbouring France and the Netherlands. The obligatory waiting period in Belgium could be shortened and Belgium could do better in tackling disinformation about abortion.
The Atlas also shows the countries where abortion is still illegal or only allowed under very strict conditions, e.g. when the life of the mother is at risk. Interestingly, women also continue to face barriers in countries with progressive legislation: no less than 31 countries in Europe do not refund pregnancy terminations. The Atlas and the research behind it resulted from a collaboration between the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) European Network and the European Parliamentary Forum for social and reproductive rights (EPF). The Atlas, including the criteria used to rank countries, can be consulted here.