British Report: Abortions Occurring Despite Available Contraception

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 12, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Report: Abortions Occurring Despite Available Contraception Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 12
, 2007

London, England ( — A new British report finds that abortions are occurring there despite the general availability of contraception. Abortion advocates frequently cite making contraception and birth control more available as the best answer for reducing abortions, but the study shows that’s not happening.

The report, sponsored by the contraception maker Schering Health Care finds that women in their late 20s and 30s are having abortions at the same rate as teenagers.

That’s surprising to birth control backers because older women are thought to be better able to afford contraception and understand how to use it.

However, almost half of the women who got pregnant in the study reported they were not using any form of contraception at the time of their pregnancy or had forgotten to take their birth control pills on a regular basis.

One in three women went through an unplanned pregnancy despite being married or involved in a long-term relationship at the time.

Of the 12 percent of women who became pregnant unexpectedly in the study and had abortions, 20 percent did not use contraception at the time and 27 percent admitted they forgot to take their birth control pills regularly.

Of the 30 percent who carried an unexpected pregnancy to term, 41 percent did not use contraception at the time and 29 percent forgot to take their birth control pills.

The survey also showed some women still view abortion as a form of birth control — with nearly 20 percent of the women saying they would have an abortion had they become pregnant while not using contraception.

Almost half of all women surveyed knew at least one, and as many as three, women who had abortions while becoming pregnancy unexpectedly in a long-term relationship.

About 186,000 women in the UK have an abortion annually and previous reports show that women of all ages have had repeat abortions — with some having three, four or more.

Dr. Dawn Harper, a women’s health specialist, talked with the London Daily Mail about the survey results and said the number of abortions was unnecessarily high despite the availability of contraception.

"These are not teenage girls we’re talking about, but women in their late 20s and 30s in long-term relationships," she said.

Still, harper said promoting contraception more was the answer to the problem.

But, Michaela Aston, of the pro-life group LIFE, said promoting birth control is "an inadequate solution to high levels of abortion in long-term relationships."

"We are not surprised that a contraceptive company is calling for increased sales of contraception but this knee-jerk reaction does not get to the heart of the matter," she said.

Aston indicated that adoption was a better solution — especially with so many couples on waiting lists for children.

"A more humane response would be to find out why couples in long term, presumably committed, relationships feel unable to welcome their child into the world especially at a time when so many couples are struggling with infertility," Aston said.