It’s been 42 years since Roe v. Wade, the critical ruling which determined that the “right to privacy” extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion. Almost half a century has passed since that landmark decision, and women’s reproductive rights are still hotly debated both in the United States and around the world.
Views on fetus viability, morality, religion, science, the state and women all impact an individual’s views on abortion, and countries around the world naturally understand all of those items a little differently. Upon the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, there’s no better way to assess the state of reproductive rights than by looking at how they’re discussed and legalized around the world.
By 1900, every U.S. state had legislation on abortion, many of them condemning the practice as a violation of the law. Though views changed over the decades, only a few states had legalized abortion before the Roe v. Wade ruling. These days, American women have access to a variety of birth control methods, including contraceptive pills, IUDs, condoms and more. Since many of these options are too expensive for poor women, the country still faces a number of questions about who should pay for birth control, condoms and other contraceptives.