British Abortions Reach Record Levels, Teen and Repeat Abortions Rise

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 5, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Abortions Reach Record Levels, Teen and Repeat Abortions Rise Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 5, 2006

London, England ( — The number of abortions in England has reached record levels at a time when abortions in other nations, including the United States, are on the decline. The British Department of Health reports that abortions rose by about 700 in 2005 compared with statistics from 2004.

The number of abortions in England and Wales shot up to 186,416 in 2005 from 185,713 in 2004.

Repeat abortions are on the rise as well and nearly one-third of British women having an abortion in 2005 have had at least one abortion before. While 31 percent of all women had an abortion before, about 43 percent of black British women had at least one abortion previously.

Teenagers are also having more abortions as more than 1,000 girls under the age of 15 had an abortion, an increase of 4.7 percent over the previous year.

The new figures come at a time when the British parliament is considering a debate on limiting late-term abortions and not allowing abortions as long as 24 weeks into pregnancy.

Patrick Leahy, spokesman for Student LifeNet, the pro-life group for young adults, told in a statement that the rise in abortions is because more women are regarding abortion as a method of birth control — which is evidenced in the rise in the number of early-term abortions.

"For 2005, abortions under 10 weeks accounted for 66.5 per cent of the total number compared to 60.2 per cent in 2004," Leahy explained. "This is surely due to dubious Government policies aimed at making access to early abortion even easier."

Leahy said that the number of late-term abortions is on the decline.

"At the same time, the percentage of late abortions is rapidly declining. The number of abortions occurring over 20 weeks dropped by almost 10 per cent on last year. This reduction reflects the public’s increased concern about the abortion time limit," he explained.

The new Department of Health figures show that about 2,000 abortions were done supposedly because of a risk that the unborn child would be born physically or mentally disabled.

In 22 percent of those cases, the unborn baby was diagnosed as possibly having Down syndrome and 11 of the abortions came because the baby had a cleft palate.

About 8,000 of the abortions were done on residents of other nations with residents of Northern Ireland accounting for 15 percent of the abortions and Ireland residents having about 70 percent of them.

Anne Weyman, chief executive of the Family Planning Association, said the rise in abortions means the British government should do more to promote contraception.