New Report Shows Abortions Down in Britain, But Repeat Abortions Increase

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 21, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Report Shows Abortions Down in Britain, But Repeat Abortions Increase

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 21
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The British government today released its official annual report on the number of abortions done in England and Wales. While the figures show the abortion rate is down overall, they also reveal the number of repeat abortions for women who have already had one is on the rise.

After reaching record highs, the report shows that the number of abortions has fallen for the first time in three years.

In 2007, the British government said abortions rose 3.9 percent to 197,499, but they dropped to 195,296 in 2008, dropping 1.6 percent.

The data also show a drop in the number of abortions on teenagers.

Just over 1,000 were done on teens aged 15 or under in England and Wales last year. There were 41,593 abortions for girls aged 15 to 19 and 56,171 among women aged 20 to 24.

The highest abortion rate was seen among 19-year-olds with 36 per 1,000 women, according to the Department of Health.

Still, Paul Tully, SPUC general secretary, told that the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children is upset that the British government is paying for more abortions with taxpayer dollars.

"The scandal of government backed abortions is reflected in these figures, which show the highest ever number of NHS-funded abortions. State provision of abortion is now a major aspect of government policy – a policy which hurts women and kills unborn children," he said.

"For the first time, in 2008 the majority of abortions were performed in private clinics at the NHS’ expense," he added.

"The figures show a slight drop in the total abortions registered under the Abortion Act in 2008, but the figure remains higher than the 2006 number, and more abortions than ever were funded by tax-payers. The number of NHS abortions in private clinics has increased by 11-fold in the past 17 years. The total number of abortions under the Abortion Act 1967 has now exceeded seven million," Tully told

Meanwhile, repeat abortions are on the rise with 64,715 — fully one-third of all abortions — done on women who had already had one. This number leads pro-life groups to say that abortion is increasingly done for birth control purposes.

Of those repeat abortions, nearly 1,500 were done on girls 18-year-old or younger and 3,801 women had already had between three and seven abortions previously.

The repeat abortion numbers were so shocking that even Health Minister Dawn Primarolo had to admit that more must be done to drive down the numbers.

The government figures also showed 90 percent of abortions were done 13 weeks into the pregnancy, while 73 percent were done under 10 weeks. Some 8.2 percent of abortions were done 13 and 19 weeks’ gestation and 2,765 abortions were at 20 to 23 weeks. There were 124 over the current abortion limit of 24 weeks.

Abortions in those cases are allowed in cases of the pregnancy threatening the life of the mother.

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