Rapid rise in numbers of women having repeat abortions
More than a third of women having an abortion are having the procedure for at least the second time, official figures show.There has been a jump in the proportion of women having repeat abortions to reach 36 per cent, equating to around 63,300 women, it has been found.
In 2010, 34 per cent of terminations were for women who had already undergone at least one. This was the biggest rise ever recorded in one year, the figures from the Department of Health show.
Although the total number of women having an abortion has dropped for the last four years, the proportion of them having the procedure more than once has increased.
The figures also reveal that more women are having multiple terminations. Last year 434 women had at least their fifth abortion, a number that has risen steadily since 2007.
Campaigners said the rise in repeat abortions was ‘particularly disturbing’.
The figures will raise fears that abortion is being used as form of contraception and doctors and nurses are not doing enough to counsel women about family planning methods when they request a termination.
It is thought around £1 million is spent on repeat abortions every week.
Across England one in four repeat abortions to women under the age of 25 were repeat abortions. In North East Lincolnshire almost half of abortions carried out on women in this age group were for at least the second time.
Overall the figures show a slight increase in the number of women born in England and Wales having an abortion to reach 189,931 in 2011.
The abortion rate peaked in 2007 and has dropped since then but remains more than double that of 1970.
The figures also show the abortion rate in under 16s, below the age of sexual consent, has dropped from 3.9 per 1,000 girls in 2010 to 3.4 per 1,000 last year.
However this masked a wide variation with nearly eight girls under the age of 16 per 1,000 in Southwark having an abortion compared with two per 1,000 in nearby Kensington and Chelsea.
Michaela Aston from the anti-abortion group, Life, said: “We should be shocked and concerned by these latest statistics, especially given the apparent decline in overall conception rates in 2011, which means that the proportion of all pregnancies that end in abortion has risen considerably.
“This is despite contraception being more widely available than ever before. It is particularly disturbing that repeat abortions rose again, with 36 per cent of women seeking abortion having had at least one previous abortion. This is a clear indication that the original intent and spirit of the Abortion Act is being widely flouted and ignored.”
Abortion services have been under scrutiny after the Daily Telegraph revealed doctors were agreeing to perform abortions on the basis of the gender of the feotus, which is illegal in Britain.
Julie Bentley, chief executive of the fpa, formerly the Family Planning Association, said: “Although there’s been a very slight increase, the number of abortions hasn’t changed significantly in the past few years and this is to be welcomed.
“However we do know that cracks are beginning to appear in contraception services. Shockingly some parts of the NHS deliberately ban women from having certain contraceptive methods and there are over three million women who don’t have access to comprehensive services. If we are going to bring down abortion numbers, this needs to change. Contraception is an essential not a luxury.”
Tags: abortions, contraception, Doctors, nhs cash shortages, NHS Deaths, pregnancy, Sexual health