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The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade: Here’s what happens in countries that restrict abortion

A Grid review found the rest of the world is actually moving toward expanding abortion rights.

“The reversal of abortion rights in the United States runs counter not only to the trend in other democracies but against the trend throughout the world,” Susheela Singh, vice president for global science and policy integration at the Guttmacher Institute, told Grid.

In countries that have enacted restrictive laws against abortion, healthcare data offers a stark warning to the U.S. Compared with nations with limited restrictions, these countries have a higher rate of unsafe abortions, which can have severe consequences for the patient’s health. And these consequences tend to fall unevenly across socioeconomic lines.

Grid reviewed data reflecting where the world stands on abortion rights, the trends in certain countries toward greater access to abortion and what the impact of restrictions has been on global maternal health. Those stories are covered in the following three charts.

The U.S. turns against the tide

“The overall global trend is toward expanding the reasons under which abortion is legally permitted,” said Remez, adding that only three countries — and now a fourth, the U.S. — have added restrictions or removed protections since 2008.

Worldwide abortion restrictions impact maternal health

“Legal restrictions impose a physical, emotional and financial toll on the well-being of people seeking abortion care, and disproportionately harm people with the fewest resources,” said Singh.

Unsafe abortions aren’t the only issue; the inability to end a pregnancy can have other repercussions. For instance, when children are born close together, mothers may stop breastfeeding, which negatively affects the health of the first born, Ndola Prata, a professor of maternal and child health at University of California, Berkeley, told Grid. Mortality is also higher for people who are unable to space out their children, she said, adding that experts recommend a minimum of two years between births. These issues are particularly prominent in low-income countries, where the map below shows maternal mortality is highest.

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