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U.K. Abortion Statistics
Facts and figures relating to the frequency of abortion in England and Wales.
Abortion statistics for England and Wales are available from the U.K. National Statistics and the Department of Health. The latest Department of Health report on abortion statistics in England and Wales for 2007 revealed the following:
ANNUAL ABORTION STATISTICS
- In 2007, the total number of abortions on residents of England and Wales was 198,500, compared with 193,700 in 2006, a rise of 2.5%.
- The age-standardised abortion rate was 18.6 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, compared with 18.3 in 2006.
The age standardised abortion rate peaked at 15.5 in 1990 but remained below 15 until 1995; it then rose to 17.2 in 1998. From 1999 to 2002 the rate remained level at just over 17. The rate then rose again and in 2007 it was 18.6.
WHO HAS ABORTIONS?
- The abortion rate was highest at 36 per 1,000, for women age 19.
- The under-16 abortion rate was 4.4 and the under-18 rate was 19.8 per 1,000 women, both higher than in 2006.
- 81% of abortions performed on single woman.
- Of woman whose ethnicity was recorded, 75% reported White, 11% Black or Black British, and 8% Asian or Asian British.
- 32% of woman indicated they had a previous abortion. An increase from 28% in 1997.
- In 2007, there were 7,100 abortions for nonresidents carried out in hospitals and clinics in England and Wales (7,400 in 2006).
WHY ARE ABORTIONS PERFORMED?
In 2007, the vast majority (98%) of abortions were undertaken under grounds that continuation of the pregnancy would involve great risk to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman. Less than half a percent of these were performed because of risk to the woman's physical health. Abortions are rarely performed under grounds F or G.
- 1% of abortions were undertaken on grounds that continuation of pregnancy would involve risk of injury to the mental or physical health of existing children in the pregnant woman's family.
- 1,900 abortions (1%) were performed for risk that the child would be born handicapped.
- Less than 1% of abortions were undertaken on grounds of risk to the pregnant woman's life or to prevent permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.
- Abortions are rarely performed to save the life of a pregnant woman.
WHEN DO ABORTIONS OCCUR?
- In 2007, 90% of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks gestation; 70% were at under 10 weeks.
- Department of Health policy is that woman entitled to an abortion should have on as early as possible. The percentage of abortion under 10 weeks has increased from 51% in 2002 to 68% in 2007.
HOW ARE ABORTIONS PERFORMED?
- Medical abortions accounted for 35% of the total compared with 30% in 2006.
- Vacuum aspiration accounted for 60% of abortions (typically before 15 weeks gestation), while D&E accounted from around 5% (typically after 15 weeks).
Complications were reported in about 370 cases in 2007, a rate of about 2 in every thousand abortions, slightly lower than in 2005 and 2006.
ABORTION AND PUBLIC FUNDS
- 89% of abortions were funded by the NHS; of these, just over half (57%) took place in the independent sector under NHS contract.
NEXT PAGE: Australian Abortion Statistics
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