Teenage abortions in the UK stand at nearly twice the EU average, according to a sobering newly released report.
Figures in the report show 22.1 per cent of all abortions in the UK in 2008 were carried out on under 20-year-olds – nearly twice the EU average of 12.0 per cent.
While a co-auther of the report called for more sex education to combat the problem, a reproductive ethics group said it was clear that sex education is not working.
The report was published in a journal of obstetrics and gynaecology and considered abortion numbers across Europe.
In the list of European countries considered, Belgium came top with 25.2 per cent of all abortions being for teenagers. The UK was second while Greece was at the bottom with 4.1 per cent.
Mika Gissler, a co-author of the study said teenage abortion rates “can be reduced by improved access to youth-friendly reproductive and sexual health services, better sexual education in schools, and free or heavily subsidised contraceptives”.
But Josephine Quintavalle, from campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: “There is no shortage of sex education or availability of contraceptives. It is pretty obvious it isn’t working.”
Last year it was revealed that abortions in England cost the NHS £118 million in 2010, according to Government estimates.
The figure was much higher than the previously calculated figure of £90m.
Health Secretary Anne Milton revealed the figures following concern in the House of Lords about the true financial cost to the NHS of abortion.
She outlined a new method which the Department will now use for calculating abortion spending. One minister had admitted the previous method was “less reliable”.