Abortions for residents of England and Wales hits all-time high

Abortion numbers hit an all-time high of 200,608 abortions in 2018 for residents of England and Wales, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Health on 13th June 2019.

Total abortions numbers, including non-residents, hit a ten year high with 205,295 abortions in England and Wales in 2018, This represents an overall increase of 7,762 abortions from 2017.

In addition to this overall increase, the figures show a rise in the number of repeat abortions from 74,204 in 2017 to 78,998 in 2018. This means that in 2018, over 39% of all abortions were performed on women who had at least one abortion on a prior occasion.

111 “selective terminations” were performed in 2018, whereby if a woman is pregnant with multiple babies, usually twins or triplets, she can choose to undergo a ‘selective reduction abortion’.

Number of abortion for disability between 24 weeks and birth increased by 128% in ten years

The number of abortions for disability 24 weeks has increased by 128% since 2008 and campaign groups such as Don’t Screen Us Out – who have worked to highlight their concerns that new cf-DNA screening for Down’s syndrome would likely increase the rate at which children with Down’s Syndrome are aborted – have highlighted the 618 abortions for Down’s syndrome in 2018.

In the last 10 years, there has been a 42% increase in abortion for Down’s syndrome and a 64% increase in abortions after 24-weeks gestation for Down’s syndrome. Currently the law in England and Wales permits abortion up until birth if there is a diagnosis of disability, like Down’s syndrome, in the womb. The increase in abortions for Down’s syndrome is likely the result of new prenatal testing technology.

Lynn Murray, spokesperson for Don’t Screen Us Out who has a daughter with Down’s Syndrome said:

“It is deeply concerning that despite the leaps that advocacy groups have made in raising awareness in support of people with Down’s syndrome, abortion in the case of Down’s syndrome is still so commonplace and widespread in the UK… we hear from parents all the time how abortion was repeatedly presented to them in the hospital as an obvious solution following the receipt of the news that their baby had Down’s syndrome.”

Private abortion providers increase share of abortions

As the number of abortions overall have increased, so has the percentage of abortions performed by private abortion providers, who, in 2018, were responsible for 72% of all the abortions in England and Wales. Since 1999, there has been a 234% increase in the number of abortions performed by private providers.

This increase in private abortions comes at the same time as a recent report from the Care Quality Commission which accused Marie Stopes International of paying staff bonuses for encouraging women to undergo terminations.

At all 70 clinics, inspectors found evidence of a policy which saw staff using a high-pressure sales tactic, by calling women who had already decided against abortion to offer them another appointment.

Staff told CQC inspectors the Maidstone clinic was like a “cattle market” and described a “very target-driven culture”.

Spokesperson for Right to Life, Clare McCarthy said:

“Vulnerable women should not be seen as a revenue opportunity but sadly we know this is not the reality as abortion itself is a multi-million pound industry. Private abortion clinics have a vested monetary interest in increasing the numbers of abortions they perform every year.”

“It is a national tragedy that 205,295 lives were lost to abortion in 2018. This is the highest the abortion rate has been at in 10 years. Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies.”

She also highlighted the majority of women in the UK who support a change in the abortion law saying “70% of women want the current time limit on abortion to be lowered and 91% of women want a ban on sex-selective abortion.”

Press release: Abortion stats published – number highest in 10 years

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Abortion number highest in 10 years, the latest statistics show

13 June 2019 – Abortion statistics released by the Department for Health show that abortion numbers hit a ten year high with 205,295 abortions. The number of abortions for residents of England and Wales was 200,608 – the highest number ever.

The figures show that:

  • In England and Wales, there was a total of 205,295 abortions in 2018, an increase of 7,762 abortions from 2017 when there were 197,533 abortions.
    • 200,608 of these abortions were for residents of England and Wales.
  • The statistics for 2018 also show a rise in repeat abortions from 74,204 in 2017 up to 78,998 in 2018.
    • This represented 4,794 more repeat abortions than in 2017.
    • This also represented an 11% increase from 2016 when there were 71,126.
  • 111 ‘selective termination’ procedures were performed, where a twin, triplet or more were aborted in the womb.
  • There were 3,269 disability-selective abortions in 2018
    • There was a 19% increase in late-term abortions for disability (24-week gestation and over) up to 283 from 237 in 2017. This represents a 128% increase compared to 2008 when there were 124.
    • 618 of these were for Down’s syndrome.
    • 15 of these were for cleft/lip palate, an increase of 50% compared to 2014 when there were 10.
  • The Department of Health also reported that the number of abortions funded by the NHS performed by private abortion providers reached a record high of 144,618. This represents 72% of abortions, up from 70% in 2017. It also represents a 234% increase since 1999 when there 43,266 performed by private providers.
    • This increase in abortions comes as private abortion providers have been accused of persuading women to have abortions. A report from Care Quality Commission accused Marie Stopes International of paying staff bonuses for encouraging women to undergo terminations.
    • At all 70 Marie Stopes clinics, inspectors also found evidence of a policy which saw staff utilise a high-pressure sales tactic, calling women who had decided against having an abortion to offer them another appointment. The report also stated that parents, partners or friends of pregnant women who might persuade them to think again about the termination were “seen as an inconvenience” and that “their presence was strongly discouraged”.

A spokesperson for Right to Life, Clare McCarthy said:

“It is a national tragedy that 205,295 lives were lost to abortion in 2018. This is the highest the abortion rate has been at in 10 years. Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies.

“Polling shows large majorities of women in the UK support changes to our abortion laws that would have a positive impact on lowering the number of abortions. 70% of women want the current time limit on abortion to be lowered and 91% of women want a ban on sex-selective abortion.

“Proposals from abortion campaigners to remove legal restrictions around abortion and introduce abortion right to birth would likely see these numbers get even worse.

“We are calling on the Government to urgently bring forward sensible new restrictions and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year.

“This increase in abortions comes as private abortion clinics have been accused by the Care Quality Commission of paying staff bonuses for persuading women to undergo abortions.

“Vulnerable women should not be seen as a revenue opportunity but sadly we know this is not the reality as abortion itself is a multi-million pound industry. Private abortion clinics have a vested monetary interest in increasing the numbers of abortions they perform every year.”

ENDS