Quarter of pregnancies in England and Wales end in abortion, record new figures reveal

A QUARTER of pregnancies in England and Wales end in abortion, new figures have revealed.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of abortions went up in all age groups.

Around 25.2 per cent of conceptions ended in abortion in 2019, up from 24 per cent the year before.

The data points to a trend of older women opting for abortions.

Around ten years ago just a fifth of pregnancies ended in abortion.

For women in their late 30s, the number of abortions have gone up by a third in the last ten years.

The number of women having terminations has increasingly grown in the last ten years.

The data states that a fifth of pregnancies were terminated in women aged 35-39.

In those over 40 a third ended in terminations.

But in women over the age of 40 who were unmarried, 37 per cent of pregnancies were aborted, compared to 25 per cent that were aborted among pregnant, married women.

How do you get an abortion and what are the risks?

Abortions are only legal (and as safe as possible) if carried out by a licensed medical practitioner.

There are three main ways to do this free of charge through the NHS:

  • Speak to your GP and ask for a referral to an abortion service – your GP should refer you to another doctor if they have any objections to abortion
  • Visit a contraception clinic, family planning clinic, sexual health clinic or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic and ask for a referral to an abortion service
  • Contact an abortion provider directly – the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Marie Stopes UK and the National Unplanned Pregnancy Advisory Service (NUPAS) can tell you about eligibility and services in your area

What are the risks?

Abortions are safest if carried out early on in the pregnancy.

Most women won’t experience any problems and having a termination will not affect future fertility.

There are however risks, such as:

  • Infection of the womb
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Damage to the womb or the entrance (cervix)

There are a number of reasons a woman might want to have an abortion.

These could be down to health, financial, career or relationship uncertainty.

Clare Murphy, of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service told The Times: "There are a variety of reasons why women are choosing to delay motherhood and have smaller families.

“These include financial instability, desire to progress at work, and the ever-increasing cost of raising a child.”

Further data revealed that 18,000 fewer babies were conceived in 2019 compared with the year before – the largest decrease in a decade.

A dramatic drop in the number of teen pregnancies accounted for most of the reduction, the ONS data found.

The only increase was among women aged 40 and above.

In total, 821,089 babies were conceived in England and Wales in 2019, compared with 839,043 in 2018 – a decrease of 2.1 per cent.

The conception rate for women under 18 reduced from 16.8 per 1,000 in 2018 to 15.8 in 2019. In 2007, the figure stood at 41.6.

There were 16.7 conceptions per 1,000 women aged 40 and over, continuing an increasing trend seen since 1990 when records began.

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