Abortion numbers in the UK are the highest in Europe with 219,336 terminations taking place in one year according to a new study.
Britain also has the highest number of abortions for girls under 20 with 48,150 of the abortions falling into this age group.
These figures, released by the Institute for Family Policies, are the latest statistics available from the European Union for the year 2007.
Britain now ranks fifth in the world for the number of abortions performed, behind only Russia, the US, India and Japan.
The number of abortions performed in the EU during 2007 was equivalent to the combined populations of the EU’s ten smallest states with Britain, France and Romania accounting for half of the terminations.
Critics have blamed the abortion figures on the Labour Government’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy which focuses on sex education and the promotion of contraception.
The strategy, which has so far cost over £300 million, aimed to cut teen conceptions in half by 2010 but is likely to fall desperately short of this target.
In February official figures revealed that 41.9 girls per 1,000 aged 15 to 17 became pregnant in 2007, compared with 40.9 in 2006.
Phyllis Bowman, Campaign Director of Right to Life said: “The Government is not so much running a Teenage Pregnancy Strategy as a Teenage Abortion Strategy.
“Conceptions are not going down and abortion is going up, exactly the reverse of what was supposed to happen.”
This is not the first time the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy has been criticised.
David Paton, Professor of Industrial Economics at Nottingham University Business School, has also referred to the strategy as “absolutely disastrous”.
Speaking on the topic The Teenage Pregnancy Strategy and the role of Sex and Relationship Education (SRE), Prof Paton pointed to statistical evidence showing that since the strategy began diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections have increased, while the rate of decline in pregnancy rates has slowed.