UK Sees Abortions Rise in 2010, Repeat Abortions Still High

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 24, 2011   |   12:09PM   |   London, England

A new report from the British health department shows abortions on the rise again in the United Kingdom and the number of repeat abortions is still high.

The figures indicate 189,574 abortions were done in 2010, up .3% from the 189,100 abortions in 2009 and 8% more than in 2000 (175,542). Those abortions were done in residents of England and Wales and another 6,535 abortions were done on women and unborn children who are not residents of the United Kingdom. The increase is the first time abortions have gone up since 2006-2007.

The new figures show about half of the abortions were done on women who had an unmarried partner at the time, 26 percent were done on single women and 16 percent of women who had abortions were married at the time.

The stats also showed 3,718 abortions were done on the unborn children of girls under the age of 18, which is down slightly, 12,742 were done on 16-17-year-old girls, and 21,809 were done on girls aged 18 or 19. On the other end of the spectrum, women over the age of 35 had 27,046 abortions.

Repeat abortions are still a problem in the UK as 64,303 procedures were done on women who already had at least one abortion and 1,201 were done on girls under 18 who had at least one abortion already while another 79 were done on girls under age 18 who had two or more previous abortions. The statistics revealed almost 300 women between the ages of 25 and 29 had four or more previous abortions at the time of the abortion they had in 2010.

The abortion rate continues to remain high as it was 17.5 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, the same last year but more than double the 1970 rate.

Paula Franklin, director of clinical development at Marie Stopes International, an abortion business, was surprised that MSI’s efforts to promote contraception and birth control had not done more to bring down the abortion numbers.

Paul Tully, the general secretary for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), a leading UK pro-life group, responded to the new numbers.

“The annual abortion statistics tell a tragic story of avoidable death – driven by commercial interests and sexual exploitation of women. The abortion industry and the Department of Health abet the anti-life culture by promoting the idea that sex – and abortion – must be available to everyone on demand,” he said. “As a result, for every two married women who have abortions, 11 unmarried women undergo abortions.”

“A notable shift in the figures for 2010 is an increase of nearly 10% in abortions of disabled babies. 2290 disabled babies were destroyed in 2010, compared to 2085 in 2009. The average for the past 5 years had been under 2000,” Tully noted. “Private abortionists are once again favored by the Department of Health policy of spending NHS money on so-called ‘charitable’ abortion services. These services do provide any genuine benefit, but simply provide abortions and charge the NHS.”

The pregnancy-care and educational charity LIFE also responded to the new figures and it repeated its call for better alternatives to abortion for women in crisis pregnancy.

Michaela Aston, a LIFE spokeswoman, said: “At LIFE we see every abortion as a tragedy, and we work hard to provide positive alternatives for women and their families who find themselves in what seem like impossible situations. The rise in abortions in 2010 is a sign that society is still failing to meet the needs of women in crisis pregnancy.”

Aston continued, “We are concerned that women are being rushed into abortion, as more and more women are having abortions earlier in pregnancy.  It is vital that women are given time to think through their options, especially since data from other countries suggests that the introduction of “cooling off” periods before abortion can play an important role in reducing abortion rates, as women and their partners or families have more time to look at all their choices. We hope too that the government will resist pressure to liberalize the law on home abortions; such a move would further isolate women from networks of support, and risks trivializing abortion still further.”

“It would also be a further indication that health authorities are not taking seriously the serious emotional and psychological consequences that many women experience after abortion,” Aston said. “We are also worried by the small but noteworthy rise in abortion for disability, which is part of a long-term upward trend. Allowing abortion for disability right up to birth is something that many people rightly find unacceptable.”

“Our hope for the future is that more women with crisis pregnancies are able to access LIFE’s services – supported housing, life skills training and emotional support – and find out about the many different options available to them, options that respect the dignity and value of everyone involved in the situation, whether parent or unborn child,” she concluded.