A new study has found that accessing abortion services online can be as effective as going to a clinic. The internet may offer a solution for women around the world that have restricted access to abortion facilities, for legal or other reasons.

Women on Web provides an online service that sends allows women to order abortion pills online.  The BMJ, a leading medical journal, recently published a study which suggests that it may be as effective and successful as visiting a brick and mortar clinic or hospital, and safer than other alternatives which women choose out of desperation when they have no other options. (However, the number of women who can use the service will be limited in contexts where internet access is not universal.)

According to Marie Stopes, it’s been shown that many of the most anti-abortion countries in the world still have among the highest number of abortions happening every year. Regardless of government policy or social attitudes, o individual women will find ways to make their own decisions, and without safe options women are likelier to opt for very dangerous and risky procedures.

According to Business Insider, Medium and The Washington Post some of the countries with the strictest anti-abortion laws include:

Malta – In Malta, abortion is completely banned in all circumstances, even pregnancy due to rape. Women can face up to three years in prison for undergoing an abortion.

United States – depending where in the US you live. Alabama, Indiana Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota are only some of the states that have very restrictive abortion laws.

Ireland – Ireland’s constitution recognises the rights of unborn children and thus there are strict laws surrounding abortion in the country. Despite the fact that the vast majority of the Irish support abortion in cases of rape or incest, lawmakers have ignored this completely.

Senegal – Shockingly, 38% of women in prisons in Senegal are there because of pregnancy-related crimes, such as abortion. In Senegal laws are so strict, it is even against the law to talk about abortion publicly.

The Dominican Republic – The small nation considered abortion at one stage only in cases of rape, incest or foetal complications, but it was dismissed by the high court and much like Malta, a woman can face up to three years in prison.

Undoubtedly, abortion will remain one of the most debated ethical issues. In many nations, like the ones above, little can be done to change the sociopolitical atmosphere regarding abortion and a woman’s right to choose. Women on Web enables women to transcend archaic laws and beliefs by accessing abortion online. With women’s health coming to the forefront of scientific research and media attention, everything should be done to protect the welfare and safety of women everywhere.