Thousands under 25 having repeat abortions, new stats

Over 20,000 women under 25 in England and Wales had a repeat abortion in 2008, according to NHS statistics.

The data show 5,000 of those abortions were carried out on teenagers and that around 3,800 have had four or more abortions.

The figures were released to Anne Milton, the Shadow Health Minister, who expressed “huge concern”.

She said: “These figures demonstrate the Government’s failure to produce a coherent and effective sexual health policy for England.”

Mrs Milton added: “Why is it that we are not able to reduce the number of young girls who not only end up with one unwanted pregnancy, but then just go back and have another?

“Abortions can be incredibly traumatic for women and terminating an unwanted pregnancy can have a damaging effect on mental health.”

The figures show 20,247 women under 25 had a repeat abortion.

Last year nearly 65,000 women who had already had one abortion went through a second, third or further pregnancy termination, according to the data from the Department of Health.

The information was released in answer to a Parliamentary Question.

In November it was revealed that abortion numbers in the UK are the highest in Europe with 219,336 terminations taking place in one year.

Britain also has the highest number of abortions for girls under 20 with 48,150 of the abortions falling into this age group.

The November figures, highlighted 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 Government’s £300m Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.

It aims to cut teen conceptions in half by 2010 but is likely to fall desperately short of the 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.”

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