Until 1967 abortion was illegal in Britain, except to save the life of the mother. In 1967 Parliament passed the Abortion Act, which, it was said, would allow safe abortion for a few women who were in very difficult circumstances.
According to Government figures, in 1968, the year the Abortion Act came into operation, there were 23,641 abortions in England and Wales. Since then, numbers of abortions have soared far beyond the numbers legislators originally envisaged. Now there are more than 200,000 babies aborted each year. One in five pregnancies in the UK now ends in abortion.
For abortion figures, circumstances in which abortion may legally be carried out, methods of abortion and the effects of abortion, click on Factsheets - abortion.
If you are contemplating abortion or have had an abortion and need help, click on Pregnancy helpline. (We do not refer for termination).