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Even Progressive Europe Isn't as Radical on Abortion as American Democrats

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Last week, Bill Maher told the radical left they need not panic about abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned and acknowledged that he had done some research and found out some things that are likely not widely known.

“I learned things this week … that are pretty basic things, that I did not know about abortion,” he began. “Like in Europe, the modern countries of Europe are way more restrictive than we are or what they’re even proposing. If you are pro-choice, you would like it a lot less in Germany and Italy and France and Spain and Switzerland. Did you know that? I didn’t know that.”

Maher is very much correct. While radical Democrats in America are calling for abortion without limits up until birth, their progressive buddies across the Atlantic Ocean are far more restrictive on abortion.

While abortion is legal in European countries, they have gestational limits varying from 10 weeks (Kosovo) to 24 weeks (United Kingdom), with the most common restriction being 12 weeks.

“Without court rulings mandating abortion access, European voters by and large have chosen to permit it in a way that would disappoint American pro-lifers,” the Wall Street Journal notes. “But even liberal and largely secular Europeans impose the sort of limitation on abortion that America’s pro-choice left claims to find intolerable. Mississippi’s ban, which is the law at issue now at the Supreme Court, begins after 15 weeks.”

In addition to those limits, mandatory waiting periods, mandatory counseling, distress requirements, and parental notification and consent laws are also very common.

“European laws also include waiting periods for abortion in some countries, such as seven days in Italy and three in Germany,” the Wall Street Journal continues. “Denmark and the Netherlands are among several countries that require parental consent before minors can obtain an abortion. Germany and Belgium require counseling first.”

Remember how the American left has long believed that Europeans are more progressive and enlightened than Americans? The Mississippi law at the center of the Dobbs v. Jackson banned abortions after 15 weeks, putting it smack dab in the middle of Europe’s gestational limits and well within the mainstream of Americans’ attitudes towards abortion.

Abortion isn’t a wedge issue in Europe as it is in the United States. The Wall Street Journal posits that “Keeping abortion politics in the democratic sphere rather than the courts has prevented it from becoming a destructive front in the culture war.”

It’s worth noting here that abortion policies in Europe mirror what polls show are mainstream American views on abortion. Most Americans feel abortion should be legal but have reasonable restrictions, including limiting them to the first trimester and requiring parental consent and notification for minors.

There will always be people who want abortion without restrictions and others who want it completely illegal. Fortunately, our system of government allows us to find compromise on divisive issues. Compromise through the political process seems to have worked in Europe, and clearly, it has the potential to do so here in America. Nevertheless, both sides are free to continue pushing for their cause, and they certainly will. But it’s about time we brought the issue back to the states, and Europe has proven that we’ll be just fine when we do.