Vast majority of European nations ban elective abortions after 15 weeks, US outside mainstream: study

Pro-choice Democrats target ban on federal abortion funding

Fox News congressional correspondent Chad Pergram reports on the latest.

U.S. elective abortion restrictions are outside the global mainstream as most European nations ban the procedure much earlier in the pregnancy, according to a new study.

The anti-abortion Charlotte Lozier Institute reported on Tuesday that 47 out of 50 European nations ban abortion after 15 weeks – the gestational limit to be considered by the Supreme Court next term.

While the majority of European countries limit elective abortions to 12 weeks, five countries limit it to 14 weeks. CLI noted that eight countries don't allow elective abortions at all, although some allow the procedure for specific medical or socioeconomic reasons.

"The European comparison is useful in highlighting how Roe v. Wadeand the abortion industry are outdated and out of touch," said CLI President Chuck Donovan.

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Planned Parenthood and NARAL, two of the nation's most prominent advocates on the other side of the issue, did not respond to Fox News' requests for comment.

For decades, the American public has debated when, if ever, it's appropriate to restrict abortion. Polling tends to show majorities of the American public favor at least some restrictions. But previous Supreme Court decisions have effectively prevented states from banning abortion at any point during the entirety of a woman's pregnancy.

Although Roe v. Wade technically allowed state restrictions, its companion decision added an important caveat. The decision in Doe v. Bolton, released on the same day in 1973 as Roe, argued that life and health of the mother encompassed a wide range of reasons.

In his majority opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote that "medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age – relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health."

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Nearly 50 years later, the Supreme Court is set to revisit the legacy of Roe in a 15-week ban passed by Mississippi. In taking up the case, the court is expected to consider a wide range of factors – including the science behind life in the womb and whether viability is an appropriate standard for judging gestational limits.

CLI and other anti-abortion advocates have held that U.S. law should change to keep pace with scientific advancements.

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"Mississippi’s law brings the United States a small step closer both to European and global norms," said Angelina B. Nguyen, an associate scholar who authored Tuesday's study.

Advocates like NARAL, however, argue that abortion is a fundamental human right and a critical part of women's health. In Congress, Democrats are currently pursuing measures that would allow taxpayer funding of both overseas and domestic abortions.

Sam Dorman Fox News