A look at our world map on the legal status of abortion and one aspect is immediately clear - Africa is a long way behind other global regions when it comes to progressive reproductive rights in 2022. As Statista research using Center for Reproductive Rights data shows however, is that the picture looked considerably worse around 25 years ago.
In 1994, abortion was completely prohibited in 17 African countries, and was only legal if saving a woman's life in a further 15. In 2022, these two numbers stand at 6 and 13. A total of 19 countries have improved their abortion laws to some significant extent since 1994. Two especially notable examples of this progress on the continent are São Tomé & Príncipe and Benin. Abortion is now legal upon request in both countries with a gestational limit of 12 weeks. Up until 2012, abortion in São Tomé & Príncipe was prohibited altogether, while Benin progressed from it only being allowed to save the woman's life, to prioritizing the preservation of health, and finally upon request after the country passed a "groundbreaking new abortion law" in 2021.
Clearly, there is still a long way to go before Africa's laws are on a par with much of Europe, for example. As this infographic illustrates though, progress is being made across the continent and the example set most recently by Benin may soon be followed by others.