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         July 2016

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1607 image news

2015 Abortion figures released


In 2015, there were 191,014 abortions in England and Wales of which 185,824 were residents.  There were 12,082 abortions in Scotland, making a total of 203,096 abortions performed in the UK. During the year, 833 women from Northern Ireland and 3,451 from the Irish Republic travelled for abortion on the mainland.  


Of 185,824 abortions on England and Wales residents, 98% of were funded by the NHS, (68% of these in the independent sector under NHS contract.)  Just two per cent (3,213) of the abortions performed on residents of England and Wales were carried out because of suspected disability, 21 per cent of these for suspected Down's syndrome.  


“Injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman” were the grounds given for 198,085 of the 203,096 abortions carried out in Great Britain (98 per cent).  The vast majority these terminations were reported as being performed because of a risk to the woman’s mental health.  In other words, 98% of all abortions were “social abortions” performed on the grounds that “that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.”

50,690 (27%) of the 185,824 abortions to residents of England and Wales had already had at least one abortion and 1,030 of these had already had four or more previous abortions; 50 women were having at least their ninth abortion.  


645 girls aged 17 or under who had an abortion in 2015 had already had one or more previous abortions.


In 2014, for the first time, more abortions were performed medically (ie induced via a pill) than surgically, giving rise to concerns that abortion will be further regarded as just a form of contraception - even though medical abortion is still a method of taking the life of an unborn child. In 2015 medical abortions accounted for 55% of the total.


Full 2015 figures for England and Wales                    Full 2015 figures for Scotland



Further details of abortion figures for 2015 may be found on the image website.