Nearly 19,000 women aged under 25 had their second abortion last year

Nearly 19,000 women aged under 25 had their second abortion last year, new figures show.

The statistics published today by the Department of Health, also revealed almost 40,000 women aged under 20 had an abortion in 2010.

Overall there has been a slight rise in the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales.

Some 189,574 abortions were carried out in 2010, up 0.3 per cent on the 189,100 in 2009 and eight per cent more than in 2000 (175,542).

These abortions were to women living in England and Wales. Another 6,535 were to non-residents.

The last time there was a rise in the total number of abortions was between 2006 and 2007.

Dr Paula Franklin, director of clinical development at Marie Stopes International, said: ‘Although the numbers are similar to those of 2009, we are surprised not to see a further decrease in the number of abortions across England and Wales.

‘Improved access to counselling and advice, through services like Marie Stopes International’s OneCall, is allowing women to access a full range of information early.’

In total, 64,303 procedures were to women who had had at least one abortion previously.

Of these, 1,201 abortions were among girls under 18 who had undergone one previous abortion, while 79 were to girls who had had two or more.

Among those aged 18 to 24, 17,735 abortions were to girls who had one abortion previously while 3,453 were to girls who had had two previously.

Half of abortions last year were to women with partners while 26 per cent were to single women and 16 per cent of abortions occurred within marriage.

Some 3,718 were to girls under 16, which was slightly down on the previous year. Some 27,046 abortions were among women aged 35 and over.

The rate was highest in women aged between 19 and 20, but has dropped among the under-16s and under-18s.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: ‘We welcome the continued fall in teenage pregnancies. Abortions are traumatic and stressful and should never be seen as a form of contraception.’

In total, 64,303 procedures were to women who had had at least one abortion previously.

The statistics also showed that almost 300 women aged 25 to 29 had had four or more previous abortions.

Overall, 77 per cent of abortions took place before 10 weeks gestation.

Age of woman No. of abortions 2009 No. of abortions 2010
Under 16 3,823 3,718
16-17 14,093 12,742
Under 18 17,916 16,460
18-19 22,151 21,809
20-24 54,749 55,481
25-29 40,634 40,800
30-34 26,701 27,978
35 or over 26,949 27,046
Total 189,100 189,574

Natika Halil, director of information for the Family Planning Association (FPA), said: ‘Over the last decade, we’ve seen significant achievements in abortion services. Most women are having abortions under 13 weeks and we’ve seen a substantial rise in early medical abortions.

‘Medical abortions are a much more straightforward and less invasive procedure for women.

‘The cost to the NHS is greatly reduced – especially relevant in the current economic climate. The next logical, clinically-safe step with early medical abortion is to allow women to have them at home.’

Across all ages, the abortion rate was 17.5 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, the same as in 2009 but more than double the 8.0 recorded in 1970.

The rate was highest in women aged between 19 and 20, but has dropped among the under-16s and under-18s.

Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott said: ‘Abortion rates were falling under the Labour government because of its investment in contraceptive services and sexual health campaigns.

‘Abortion rates have levelled off and will now undoubtedly rise further because contraceptive services are being slashed nationwide.

‘The coalition Government has not protected provision of contraceptive services despite the fact they are cost-effective as well as being a basic human right.’

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (Bpas), said the fact that numbers had not decreased showed how difficult it was for women to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

She added: For many women abortion is a back-up to their contraception. It is a rational and ethical solution to the problem of a pregnancy that they cannot continue with.

‘We must do what we can to reduce the need for abortion while accepting that it will always be an important back-up for women whose contraception has failed, or whose circumstances have changed.’

However Michaela Aston, a spokeswoman for Life, 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.

‘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.

‘We hope too that the Government will resist pressure to liberalise the law on home abortions. Such a move would further isolate women from networks of support, and risks trivialising abortion still further.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1390402/Abortion-Nearly-19-000-women-aged-25-SECOND-abortion-year-shock-figures-show.html?ITO=1490

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