Abortions down in England and Wales

Fall in teenage abortion rates continues, figures show

Abortions done on women living in England and Wales fell 2.5% to 185,122 last year, Department of Health figures show.

For women aged 15-44, the abortion rate was down 5.4% to 16.5 per 1,000 women – the bottom since 1997.

From information included in abortion forms in 2012, almost half were medically-induced using drugs rather then surgery – identical to 2011.

Among under-18s, the abortion rate continued to fall last year.

The choice of teenagers having abortions was on a downward trend for the past five years. Between 2011 and 2012, the under-18 abortion rate fell again from 15 to twelve.8 per 1,000.

The Department of Health report at the 2012 statistics said that 91% of abortions were completed before the 13th week of pregnancy.

It also noted that fewer abortions were performed on women from other countries, corresponding to Ireland, than in any year since 1969.

Last year, non-residents accounted for five,850 abortions.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said the drop within the variety of teenagers experiencing an unwanted pregnancy could reflect improvements in access to contraception for teens.

In older age groups the autumn in abortions could indicate that ladies are better ready to avoid unplanned pregnancy inside the first place, it said.

No stereotypes

Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, said: “Abortion is a fact of life and there’s no ‘right number’ of abortions. What matters is that each woman with an unplanned pregnancy is ready to make the decision that’s right for her and access the care that she needs.

“These statistics confirm that ladies who’ve abortions don’t fit the stereotype of ‘the feckless teenager’. Women of every age and from all walks of life experience unplanned pregnancy.”

But a spokesperson from ProLife Alliance said the drop was “sadly very small”.

“Again we highlight that most of abortions performed within the UK are covered, read ‘hidden’ under Ground C, which covers the mental health of the pregnant woman.

“The dept of Health itself acknowledges that there are not any further breakdown categories in relationship to women’s mental health available during the International Classification of Diseases, so that they are unable to demand or provide any greater detail.”