More repeat abortions but total dips slightly

Abortion figures fell marginally last year but more were performed on women who had been through the procedure before.

In 2008 there were 195,296 abortions carried out on women resident in England and Wales.

A third of those – 64,715 – were carried out on women who had had at least one termination already, up from 64,230 in 2007.

The number of abortions on teenagers aged under 18 fell just short of 20,000, of which 1,522 were their second or third abortions.

The increase in repeat abortions has raised concerns that terminating an unwanted pregnancy is increasingly being regarded as a form of emergency contraception.

Phyllis Bowman of Right to Life said: ‘This is further evidence that GPs who are concerned that abortion is being used as a form of contraception are correct.

“Those ministers who are congratulating themselves because the total of abortions has gone down should be finding a way to stop this.”

A greater proportion of terminations took place earlier on in pregnancy, with 73 per cent carried out between three and nine weeks’ gestation.

The figures, released yesterday by the Department of Health, do not account for the number of pregnancies ended using the morning-after pill.

The latest total shows a very slight fall in abortions, which have risen by 17,425 over the last decade.

Dr Patricia Lohr, Medical Director of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a leading abortion provider, said: “Abortion figures have tended to fluctuate slightly year-on-year but the overall background trend remains for a gradual rise in the numbers of abortions.”

Michaela Aston, spokeswoman for LIFE, a pro-life charity, said: “This reduction in the number of abortions is definitely positive news and reason for hope.

“While there are still far too many abortions, the small decrease in numbers in nearly every age group suggests that more and more women are recognising the value of their unborn child and seeing that there are positive ways to cope with crisis pregnancy.”

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