Accessibility and availability of abortion in six European countries

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2005 Mar;10(1):51-8. doi: 10.1080/13625180500035231.


Objectives: The accessibility and availability of abortion are a reflection of abortion law and the accessibility and availability of abortion services. Experiences from six European countries with different political, cultural, social and religious backgrounds (the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Slovenia, Hungary and Turkey) are presented.

Results: Abortion laws in Europe range from complete prohibition to complete liberalization of abortion. Some countries demand a waiting period for the procedure, pre-abortion counseling, parental approval for minors, and in the others there are no mandatory requirements. Abortions are generally performed in authorized facilities by gynecologists or general practitioners. Abortion services are easily accessible, in terms of the law, availability of facilities and health insurance coverage of the procedure in the Netherlands, France and Slovenia. Abortion service is less accessible in United Kingdom, Hungary and Turkey, as a result of limited accessibility to abortion services or a relatively high abortion fee. In some Eastern European countries there has been a tendency in the last decade to limit the availability and access to abortion.

Conclusions: In Europe abortion is generally well accessible in terms of abortion laws. There are differences in accessibility to abortion services between the countries, and in some countries, also between different areas of the country.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data
  • Abortion, Legal / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Abortion, Legal / statistics & numerical data
  • Europe
  • Family Planning Policy
  • Family Planning Services / standards*
  • Family Planning Services / supply & distribution*
  • Family Planning Services / trends
  • Female
  • France
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Services Accessibility / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Informed Consent / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Netherlands
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Assessment
  • Slovenia
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom