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Survey: Access to abortion a problem

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- While many countries are relaxing their abortion laws, women outside large cities may have trouble getting the procedure, a survey released Thursday said.

The Center for Reproductive Rights said that since 1994 26 countries have liberalized abortion laws. They are Albania, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guinea, Guyana, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mali, Monaco, Nepal, Niger, Portugal, Saint Lucia, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Switzerland, Timore-Leste and Togo.

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Only four, El Salvador, Japan, Nicaragua and Poland, have enacted more restrictive laws.

Generally, countries in Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East tend to have more restrictive laws while those in North America, Europe and Asia are less restrictive.

The group said that most of the 20 million clandestine abortions performed every year are in countries with restrictive laws. But access is also a problem.

In the United States, 97 percent of the counties have no abortion providers. In India, where the laws are slightly more restrictive than in the United States, many women cannot get abortions.

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