ROME, Italy (EP) – Prompted in part by U.S. pro-life activism, European countries which permit abortion are experiencing increased opposition from pro-life groups.
Such groups have increased activities in Britain, France, Italy, Spain, and West Germany, organizing conferences and forming at least two international networks tied to counterparts in the U. S., which provide them with literature and films.
Only three European countries do not permit abortions: Belgium, Ireland, and Malta. However, it is expected that Belgium will legalize it this year. Ireland is the strictest of the three, making it a crime to provide information about the availability of abortion in any nearby countries where it is legal.
The most liberal abortion laws are in Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Greece and the Netherlands, where abortion on demand is legal. France, West Germany, and Britain do not permit abortion after certain time periods, and all abortions must be approved by doctors. Portugal and Spain do not allow abortions after 12 weeks gestation; abortions done before that time can only be performed if a woman’s life or health is threatened.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Webster case is likely to give fuel to pro-life groups in Europe. Most European countries legalized abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade decision.