The Spanish government has scrapped a bill which proposed tougher regulations on abortion.

According to the proposed bill, abortion would have only been carried out in Spain in case of rape, or in case the mother's life was at risk. The government motivated the rejection of the bill by saying there was not consensus regarding the draft law.

Although Spain returned to a less-restrictive approach on abortion – a move which was widely welcomed in the nation – in other countries abortion is completely illegal, or restricted to specific situations.


Nicaraguan women cannot have an abortion under any circumstance, as the practice is completely illegal.

Before 2006, therapeutic abortion – which is carried out for medical reasons – was allowed as long as the woman and three doctors gave constent.

The only known case in which an abortion was carried out even when the necessary conditions were not in place, involved a nine-year-old girl - known only as Rosa - who was impregnated after being raped.

In October 2006, the Nicaraguan National Assembly passed a new bill which outlawed abortion completely.


Abortion is considered a crime in El-Salvador, even if a woman's life is at risk.

Women who terminate a pregnancy - or those who suffer miscarriages, but are suspected of having carried out an abortion - can be charged with murder and consequently jailed. Sentences can be of more than 30 years.

A report published by the Centre for Reproductive Rights, said: "Enforcement of the country's abortion law has had serious consequences in hospitals and healthcare centres, where any woman who comes to an emergency room haemorrhaging is presumed to be a criminal."

Between 2000 and 2011, at least 129 women were prosecuted for abortion-related crimes, according to research by Citizens' Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion. Of these, 49 were convicted - 26 for murder and 23 for abortion.

Other countries where abortion is totally illegal - meaning it can't be carried out even if the mother's life is at risk - are Chile, Honduras, and Dominican Republic.


The case of an 11-year-old girl who was denied abortion after she had got pregnant as a consequence of sexual violence sparked outrage worldwide.

The girl was denied a termination as Senegal's abortion law allows doctors to carry out this operation only if the mother's life is in danger.

According to this strict law, first introduced following the period of French rule during the 1600s, pregnancy originated from incest or rape cannot be terminated.

United States - North Dakota, Arkansas, and Texas

In the US state of North Dakota, Govenor Jack Dalrymple signed in 2013 a law banning abortion once a "fetal heartbeat can be detected" – which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The law also forbids abortions based on gender selection and genetic abnormalities, such as Down's syndrome. According to critics, banning abortion so early in pregnancy could be declared unconstitutional by federal courts.

The state of Arkansas has a similar law. In Texas, abortion can only be carried out within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In some 50 other countries - the majority of which are in Africa - abortion is illegal or permitted only to save the mother's life. Full list of countries where abortion is illegal.