Skip Navigation LinksGlobal Attitudes towards Abortion

With International Women's Day celebrated tomorrow (8 March), a new online global Ipsos survey across 24 countries finds that seven in ten (71%) respondents around the world believe that abortion should be permitted. 43% state that it should be permitted whenever a woman decides that she wants one, compared to 28% who believe that there are certain circumstances in which an abortion should be conducted.

There is a higher proportion of women than men who believe that abortion should be a free choice in any circumstances.


South Africans who have online access display more conservative views about abortion, with only 24% agreeing that women should have the decision to have an abortion whenever they decide, compared to 34% of who believe that abortion is acceptable under certain circumstances, such as rape. This is much lower than the global averages and more South Africans agree that abortion should not be permitted, as below. 

South Africa _ Abortion.png

Globally, those who say that abortion should never be permitted under any circumstance, are most likely to have a low household income (7%), compared to medium (4%) or high (5%).

Those most pro-choice are the Swedes with 77% saying that abortion should be allowed under any circumstance. Peru is on the other end of the spectrum with only 12% agreeing with the statement:

All Countries _ Abortion.png


  • The survey instrument is conducted monthly in 24 countries around the world via the Ipsos Online Panel system. The countries reporting herein are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.
  •  For the results of the survey presented herein, an international sample of 17,551 adults aged 18-64 in the US and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries, were interviewed between January 20th and February 3rd, 2017. Approximately 1000+ individuals participated on a country by country basis via the Ipsos Online Panel except for Argentina, Belgium, Hungary, India, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey, where each have a sample approximately 500+. The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.
  • 16 of the 24 countries surveyed generate nationally representative samples in their countries (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United States).
  • Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Peru, Russia, South Africa and Turkey produce a national sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher incomes than their fellow citizens.  We refer to these respondents as "Upper Deck Consumer Citizens".  They are not nationally representative of their country. ​

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