Chief Justice Roberts Is Correct: U.S. Abortion Law Is Outside Global and European Mainstream

Charlotte Lozier Institute  

47 Out of 50 European Nations Limit Elective Abortion Prior to 15 Weeks


Washington, D.C.Chief Justice John Roberts correctly stated during today’s Dobbs oral arguments that United States abortion law is extreme in comparison to global and European norms.


According to a comprehensive 2014 Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) analysis of abortion laws worldwide, the United States is among a small handful of nations, including China and North Korea, that allow elective abortion more than halfway through pregnancy, or after 20 weeks.


CLI’s 2014 analysis was heavily challenged but rated as “true” in a Washington Post fact check, receiving the elusive “Geppetto Checkmark” in 2017.


A separate CLI analysis conducted earlier this year, entitled “Mississippi’s 15-Week Gestational Limit on Abortion is Mainstream Compared to European Laws,” found that 47 out of 50 European nations limit elective abortion prior to 15 weeks.  Eight European nations, including Great Britain and Finland, do not allow elective abortion and instead require a specific medical or socioeconomic reason before permitting an abortion.


CLI’s European comparison analysis was further discussed in a July 2021 USA Today op-ed.


CLI Executive Director Stephen Billy had this reaction to today’s oral arguments:


“I was stunned to hear the abortion industry counsel challenge Chief Justice Roberts on whether or not U.S. abortion law is extreme. The Chief Justice correctly cited CLI research that shows how Roe puts the United States in the same class with China and North Korea, allowing abortion-on-demand until the day of birth. Does the abortion industry not read the Washington Post?


“Despite Ms. Rikelman’s claims, the black-letter law is clear:  47 out of 50 European nations limit elective abortion prior to the 15-week limit proposed by Mississippi.”


Click here to read CLI’s analysis of international abortion law. Click here to read CLI’s analysis of European abortion law.


Charlotte Lozier Institute was launched in 2011 as the education and research arm of Susan B. Anthony List. CLI is a hub for research and public policy analysis on some of the most pressing issues facing the United States and nations around the world. The Institute is named for a feminist physician known for her commitment to the sanctity of human life and equal career and educational opportunities for women.




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