British Figures Show Abortion Targets Teenager Girls

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 30, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Figures Show Abortion Targets Teenage Girls

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
June 30, 2004

London, England ( — Teenagers in England, and London in particular, continue to undergo abortions at an alarming rate, according to the latest statistical research.

The figures show that more than three dozen girls under the age of 14 had abortions in a single year in London.

Across Great Britain, more than 35,000 teenagers had abortions in 2002. One in ten of them was under the age of 16.

In London, the problem appears to be particularly acute. More than 7,500 teenagers underwent abortions in London in 2002. More than 630 of them were under age 16.

The figures have raised new questions about the effectiveness of the government’s sex education program. Critics of the program say that the multi-million-pound campaign to reduce teen pregnancy is simply not working.

“Teenage pregnancy–apart from the rare cases where the young person is married–is usually problematic, but aborting the child only causes a much bigger problem,” said Paul Danon of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

“Not only is innocent human life lost, but the girls then have to live with the psychological aftermath of abortion. Society’s priority shouldn’t be easier abortion–or easier availability of morning-after pills which can cause abortion–but help and support for all pregnant women and girls,” Danon said.

The exact number of girls younger than 14 who had abortions in London is unknown. Public officials say they are withholding that information because of confidentiality concerns.

Across Great Britain, 158 girls age 12 and 13 had abortions in a single year. A staggering 40 percent of pregnancies involving 15 to 17-year-olds ended in abortion.

Pro-life advocates say the statistics provide more evidence that the controversial morning-after pill is not effective in reducing teen pregnancy rates.

Julia Millington of the Pro-Life Party told the Evening Standard newspaper, “The government’s strategy to reduce teenage pregnancies is not working. The number of young girls having [abortions] remains very high, despite a huge increase in the use
of the morning-after pill.”

Pro-life groups oppose the use of the drug because it can sometimes act as an abortion agent. The U.S. Food and Drug administration recently prevented the company that makes it from selling it over-the-counter because of its unknown effect on teens.

British health and education officials are defending their policies.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said there has been a 9.4 percent reduction in the under-18 conception rate since the introduction of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.

In addition, Health Minister Melanie Johnson points to the fact that the number of teenage abortions has declined since the year 2000, when the total for England and Wales was nearly 37,000.

However, education officials have come under fire in recent weeks for promoting abortions among young female students.

A school in Mansfield, for instance, recently arranged for a 14-year-old to have an abortion without informing her parents. The girl’s mother later found out about the abortion from one of her daughter’s friends.

Recent research has also revealed that fewer abortions are carried out in socially disadvantaged areas.

“The demographics mustn’t blind us to the tragedy which each abortion represents,” said SPUC’s Paul Danon. “A mother’s social background is just one factor in all this and by far the most important issue is the unborn child’s humanity and his or her consequent right to life.

“It is understandable if girls from less privileged backgrounds are more inclined to keep their children, perhaps because they feel they have less to lose job-wise or in terms of their education. However, this shouldn’t be a pretext for making abortion more easily available in less advantaged areas,” Danon added.

In some areas, abortions among teenagers outnumber live births.

In Eden in Cumbria, three out of four conceptions ended in abortions. Other areas with high abortion rates included Epsom and Ewell (74 percent), Rochford in Essex (72 percent) and the Mole Valley in Surrey (70 percent).

Abortion rates in Britain are higher in areas with extensive “family planning” services, which often promote abortion as the primary response to an unexpected pregnancy.

Related web sites:
Society for the Protection of Unborn Children –