Women's Civil Rights and the Worldwide Liberalization of Abortion on Demand and for Socio-Economic Reasons Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2021


  • 1


  • 62

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0038-0253


  • Many independent states liberalized induced abortion statutes between 1950 and 2011, while many others retained repressive ones. This project attributes these reforms to the legal recognition of civil rights for women &- i.e. freedom of mobility, their rights to paid employment, property ownership and justice. By broadening available life choices, civil rights recognition increases the opportunity cost of unwanted maternity thereby expanding women's resources for mobilizing support for abortion reform. Using a database of 195 independent states and event-history models, the study shows that countries where women enjoy more civil rights are significantly more likely to pass socioeconomic and on demand liberalizations.


  • sex and gender; law; globalization; abortion; civil rights