Comedian and late-night talk-show host Bill Maher considers himself among the more erudite and well-informed people on television. But on Friday, he offered a stunning admission for a well-educated liberal.
He admitted he did not know something. In this case, it concerned abortion policy.
In the wake of last week’s leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion that appears to undo the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that largely allows abortion on demand across America, Maher got educated on how Europeans view this.
Maher said among the “pretty basic things” that did not know but learned since Justice Samuel Alito’s majority draft opinion hit the front pages was that “the modern countries of Europe (are) way more restrictive than we are.”
“If you are pro-choice, you’d like it a lot less in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Switzerland,” Maher said. Maher also confessed that he learned most pro-life advocates are women.
Considering just Europe, though, Maher was correct. Although leftists like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe Europe has a much better healthcare system than the U.S., they and those like them who demand no restrictions on abortion would really find Europe’s abortion laws outrageous.
Last July the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute released a report that looked at 50 European countries or semi-autonomous regions with populations of more than 1 million people.
The group compared that to Mississippi’s law, which was new at the time. That law banned abortion after 15 weeks and is now the subject of the opinion driving the current meltdown on the left. If upheld, it could set a new precedent for restricting abortion on demand.
Under Roe, abortion is legal throughout the entirety of pregnancy, and the Supreme Court has only recognized limits after 24 weeks. Which is why Mississippi’s law ignited a controversy. Recently, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law that matches Mississippi’s.
Yet, as the Lozier Institute reported, “The majority of European countries that allow elective abortion limit it to 12 weeks. This finding demonstrates that Mississippi’s law limiting elective abortion to 15 weeks is neither extreme nor outside the norm in comparison to European practice.”
The study analyzed nations that allow elective abortion without providing a reason, such as the U.S. does. That applied to 42 of the 50.
In that group, 39 countries restrict elective abortion to 15 weeks or earlier.
As for a breakdown, the Lozier Institute noted that five countries – Croatia, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, and Turkey – have set a maximum of 10 weeks for an abortion.
Meanwhile, 27 others set the limit at 12 weeks: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Moldova, Northern Ireland, North Macedonia, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine.
Seven more – Austria, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain – set their limits between 12 weeks and 14 weeks.
Conversely, only three nations – Iceland, Netherlands, and Sweden – allow elective abortion after 18 weeks or later, and only Netherlands, at 24 weeks, is similar to the U.S.
As the Lozier Institute noted, “No European country allows elective abortion through all nine months of pregnancy as is permitted in the United States, where Supreme Court precedent only allows states to regulate it after viability. … The Mississippi late-term abortion restriction at 15 weeks is not extreme by any measure when compared with European law.”
If Maher was surprised by Europe, he and other liberals should look at Africa and Central and South America. On the overwhelming majority of both continents, abortion is mostly outlawed completely or except in circumstances to save the mother’s life or preserve her health.