by Steven Ertelt
July 27, 2005
London, England (LifeNews.com) — New British abortion figures show that there were 2.1 percent more abortions performed in England and Wales in 2004 than in 2003. The number of abortions in the European nation has been on the rise each of the last three years.
Department of Health figures show there were 185,400 abortions in 2004, higher than the 181,600 in 2003 and 5.6 percent higher than the 176,000 in 2002.
The abortion rate in 2004 was highest for women in the 18-19 and 20-24 age groups and increased 6 percent for girls under the age of 14. Girls under 16 and under 18 saw their abortion rates decrease.
For all women between ages 15 to 44, the abortion rate in 2004 was 16.9 percent. That’s the highest figure ever record in the U.K. since abortion was legalized in 1969.
The new British abortion figures show most of the abortions occurring within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, 88 percent, and 60 percent occurring during the first 10 weeks — higher than the 58 percent in 2003.
Only 1 percent of all abortions, about 1,900, were done because the unborn child had physical or mental disabilities. Two percent of abortions were performed after the unborn child had reached 20 weeks old.
According to the British health department, the government paid for all or part of 82 percent of the abortions performed there and 51% of the abortions were performed by independent abortion businesses.
Pro-life groups were chagrined by the new figures.
"Whilst we are pleased that the under-18 abortion rate has dropped slightly we are astonished that the overall abortion figures have increased yet again," Patrick Leahy, director of Student LifeNet, a youth pro-life group, told the BBC.
"It is clear now that the UK effectively has abortion-on-demand. The government must take immediate steps to reduce this horrific number of abortions," Leahy said.
Anthony Ozimic of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child added that he was concerned about the number of women having early abortions — perhaps indicating they are rushed or pressured into the decision.
The number of abortions increased despite the government’s spending £40 million to promote contraception.
Women living in Wales had 7,724 abortions, an increase of 1 percent over 2003. The abortion rate was lower in Wales than in England.