More women are having repeat abortions, according to new official figures for England and Wales which have been met with concern from pro-lifers.
The figures, released by the Department of Health, show 68,105 women having an abortion in 2011 had already had at least one abortion, compared to 2010 when the figure was 64,303.
This rise is the biggest rise in any one year and means 36 per cent of the women having abortions in 2011 had had at least one before.
There was also a small rise in the total number of abortions in 2011, up to 189,931 from 189,574.
Commenting on the figures Michaela Aston, from the LIFE campaign group, said: “We should be shocked and concerned by these latest statistics”.
“As a society, we are failing to cultivate respectful attitudes to life, and failing to promote positive and responsible attitudes to motherhood, family life and sexual relationships”.
She continued: “It is particularly disturbing that repeat abortions rose again”.
Of the abortions for women resident in England and Wales, 96 per cent were funded by the NHS.
In March it was revealed some doctors in abortion clinics had falsified abortion consent forms.
The news came after surprise inspections were ordered by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.
Under the current law, two doctors must sign a referral form before a woman can go ahead with an abortion.
But inspectors discovered that doctors were pre-signing the forms without meeting the women concerned or reviewing their medical notes.
In February an undercover newspaper investigation found UK doctors were agreeing to gender abortions.
The Daily Telegraph found three instances of doctors offering to arrange abortions after being told that the women did not want their babies because of the sex of the unborn child.
In an editorial, the Telegraph said its investigation had “confirmed that abortion on demand, often dismissed as a myth, is in fact routine”.