European nations see small drop in support for abortion rights

Abortion rights demonstrators rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington.
Abortion rights demonstrators rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington. Copyright Jacquelyn Martin/AP
By Mathieu Pollet
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Despite the decline, the overwhelming majority of people in most European nations support the right to abortion.


A growing number of people in Europe are opposed to the right to abortion, according to a new survey conducted by Ipsos MORI.

Although the poll, which took in 17,500 people from 25 countries revealed that 70% believed that abortion should be permitted - 2% lower than in 2014, when the survey was first conducted - the number of people who supported abortion rights declined in eight European nations.

Germany, France and Spain saw a 9%, 6% and 5% drop respectively since 2014.

That said, the numbers of supporters in Europe remain extremely high, with Sweden (88%), Belgium (87%), France (84%), Great Britain, the Netherlands and Spain (all 83%) at the top of the ranking.

Other countries have seen huge increases of support of the right to abortion: South Korea (+20), Mexico (+13) and Russia (+10).

The United States (64%) and Japan (66%), are the only developed nations in the top 10 where acceptance is lowest.

Abortion in the EU

Most countries of the European Union have legalized abortion with or without a mandatory waiting period or counselling.

The practice only remains illegal in Poland and Malta where highly restrictive laws are still in place.

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