Among the many European countries that allow for an abortion procedure to take place on their ground without any legal repercussions is Greece. As of 1986, abortions in Greece became fully legalized when Greece’s abortion law “1609/1986” was passed, permitting on-demand abortions – including those that fall under broad economic and social reasons – to be performed for women who are still in their first trimester of pregnancy (not exceeding 12 weeks). There are, however, certain circumstances in which a pregnant woman may be permitted a termination of pregnancy after her first trimester.

In this article, you will learn about:

Mandates of Greece’s Abortion Law

There are a certain set of mandates that Greece’s abortion law “1609” stipulates, primarily that:

  • A pregnant woman must be informed of her choices prior to an abortion, including her civil right to mother and child protection by the state and all other family planning options, as well as any and all consequences that may arise out of a pregnancy termination.
  • A pregnant woman’s physical and mental health must be examined and assessed before proceeding with an abortion.
  • All abortions must be performed with the assistance of an anaesthetic, and by medical professionals specialized in gynecology or obstetrics.
  • Hospitals and private clinics where abortion services are to be performed must meet specified health standards.
  • Written permission must be provided by a parent or legal guardian for girls under the age of 18 who seek to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

Abortions in Greece requested after the 12 week gestation period can be permitted in the eye of the law under the following circumstances:

  • In cases of rape or incest, abortions can be permitted at 19 weeks of gestation.
  • In cases of fetal abnormalities such as physical or mental impairment, abortions can be permitted at 24 weeks of gestation.
  • In cases of inevitable risk to a pregnant woman’s life, or in cases of serious and permanent damage to her physical or mental health, abortions can be permitted at any time during a woman’s pregnancy prior to birth.

Cost of Abortions in Greece

2 euro coinThe cost of abortions in Greece will differ depending on the sector in which they are sought. If a woman seeks a pregnancy termination within the public sector, she may be covered by her health insurance under the Greek National Health System, rendering the procedure free of charge. She would also be entitled to three days’ leave on full pay.

Not many women seek to terminate their pregnancies within the public sector, since bureaucratic procedures and a high level of demand for safe abortions tend to cause delays for pregnant women to undergo abortion procedures. This leads women to seek pregnancy termination within the private sector. The price of abortion in Greece’s private sector will vary depending on the clinic or hospital.

Abortion Pills in Greece

Access to abortion pills in Greece is rather easy, as they are generally provided in hospitals and clinics all across the country, even online. Women who seek medical professionals’ advice when considering an abortion are commonly granted prescriptions to abortion pills without much complication.

Abortion pills in Greece can be taken up to ten weeks of gestation without risking damaging a woman’s health. These abortion pills, which fall under ‘medication abortion’, consist of two drugs taken in two doses – Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Women who ingest them will have to follow up with their medical professionals to ensure the success of their pregnancy termination.

Abortion Statistics in Greece

Abortions are the most common type of contraception among fertile women in Greece. According to one study measuring the statistics of abortions in Greece, which was conducted by Guttmacher Institute — a non-profit, non-governmental research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health worldwide, the country saw a total of 140,000 pregnancies annually between 2015-2019. Of those, 76,200 were unwanted pregnancies and 34,600 ended in abortions.

close up of two hands holding each otherThe rate of unplanned pregnancies in Greece, as per their study, declined by 22 percent between 1990-1994 and 2015-2019, wherein abortion rates remained the same, leveling at 46 percent per 1,000 women between the reproductive age groups of 15-49.

In another study that was conducted between 2018 and 2019 by the 3rd Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, it was estimated that about 3 to 5 percent of all abortions across Greece between 2007-2014 constituted of teenage pregnancies. The study estimated that 25 percent of teenagers underwent an abortion in 2014. This is largely due to the population’s lack of use of contraceptive methods such as condoms, birth control, or the morning after pill.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Abortion Laws Across Europe & The Globe

Where is abortion illegal in Europe?

Abortion is illegal in all cases in Malta, Andorra, and San Marino, where pregnant women and medical practitioners may be tried under the eye of the law.

What are all the European abortion laws?

All abortion laws around the world are different to one another. In some countries, abortion is legal, while in others it is completely criminalized. European abortion laws, however, tend to be generally lenient, with some exceptions.

What are some of the strictest abortion laws in Europe?

Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Poland, and San Marino have the strictest abortion laws in Europe which prohibit abortions in all circumstances. Malta’s abortion law, however, could lead to imprisonment.

Is abortion illegal in Greece?

Abortion is completely legal in Greece. In fact, Greece has some of the most lenient abortion laws across Europe.

What is the cost of abortion in Greece?

Depending on whether a woman seeks a pregnancy termination within the private or public sectors, an abortion in Greece may cost her nothing, up to €1,000+, depending on the hospital or clinic.

What countries allow free abortion in Europe?

The cost of abortion depends on the country’s abortion laws: in some countries abortions are paid by patients while in other countries they are paid by the state. In Portugal, for example, Portuguese residents have the legal right to an abortion paid for by the state, up to ten weeks into the pregnancy. This was approved by a referendum regarding abortion law in Portugal in 2007.