New figures show high abortion rate continues with young women at risk
New figures released today (29 May) by the Department of Health show that the high abortion rate in England and Wales continued in 2011 and even slightly increased.
The total number of abortions in 2011 in England and Wales was 189,931, 0.2% more than in 2010 (189,574) and 7.7% more than in 2001 (176,364).
Young women are particularly at risk. The abortion rate in 2011 was highest, at 33 per 1,000, for women aged 20. There were also 1,000 abortions to women aged under 15.
The vast majority (98%; 185,973) of abortions in 2011 were undertaken under Ground C, and the vast majority (99.96%) of Ground C only terminations were reported as being performed because of a risk to the woman’s mental health.
Many believe that the majority of such terminations are illegal, as the evidence suggests that having an abortion is often more damaging to the mental health of women than continuing with the birth.
The figures also show that many women are having multiple abortions.
In 2011, 36% of women undergoing abortions had one or more previous abortions. The proportion has risen from 31% since 2001. 26% of abortions to women aged under the age of 25 were repeat abortions.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, greeted Government abortion statistics published today with sadness:
“It is sad that the abortion rate in this nation, which everyone agrees is too high, has not been reduced in 2011, and that so many young women in particular are having abortions.
“Since the introduction of the Abortion Act 1967, there have been well over 7 million abortions in England and Wales. Yet Parliament never intended abortion to be available on demand. How have we let this happen?
“It is clear that the reality and dangers of abortion are not widely known. Abortion is seen as the solution to a problem; this must change. We must find ways of making adoption seem a real alternative and we must create systems to help those who decide to keep their children against all the odds.
“The stark reality of these figures demonstrates why MP Nadine Dorries’ attempt to ensure that women are offered independent counselling should continue to be supported and should be kept on the political agenda. When women are given a moment to stop and pause, they often make very different decisions.
“We must not resign ourselves to this high level of abortions but must continue to tell women that there are other alternatives. There needs to be a culture change in our nation on this issue.
“Not only does each abortion rob a child of the chance to live and enjoy its life, but abortion can also damage the mental and sometimes the physical health of the mother, and often impacts the father and the wider family.”