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Latest Spanish abortion figures show abortion rate much lower than England and Wales

There were almost 100,000 abortions in Spain in 2019 according to the latest figures from the Spanish Ministry of Health.

The figures, released in December last year, reveal that in 211 abortion centres across the country in 2019, 99,149 abortions took place. This is the highest number of abortions in a single year since 2013, when there were 108,690 abortions.

Abortion was made legal in Spain in 1985 and since then there have been a reported 2,482,750 abortions in the country. The official figures for 2020 have not yet been released but unless there is a dramatic reduction in abortion numbers for 2020, the total number of abortions since 1985 will have surpassed 2.5 million.

Abortion rate in Spain much lower than England and Wales

Spanish abortion law includes a three-day cooling-off period to ensure that a women considering an abortion has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her. The legislation also includes a 14-week time limit for most abortions. Abortion is then allowed up to 22 weeks gestation in cases where there is “serious risks to life or health of the mother or fetus” and after 22 weeks if “fetal anomalies incompatible with life are detected” or if “an extremely serious and incurable disease is detected within the fetus at the time of diagnosis and is confirmed by a clinical committee”. 

In England and Wales, the current abortion law does not provide a cooling-off period and 98% of abortions are performed under the provision in the law which allows abortion on mental health grounds. Abortions under this provision have a time limit of 24 weeks. Abortion is available up to birth when the baby has a disability and on other limited grounds.

In England and Wales the abortion rate has been consistently higher than in Spain. 

In 2019, the age-standardised abortion rate in England and Wales was 18.0 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44. In Spain the abortion rate was much lower than England and Wales, at 11.53 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2019.

Polling from Savanta ComRes shows that 79% of the general population in England, Wales and Scotland support the introduction of a five-day cooling-off period to ensure that a women considering an abortion has had enough time to consider all of the options available to her. The polling also shows that 60% of the general population and 70% of women believe that the current 24-week gestational limit for abortion should be reduced.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “The prevalence of abortion in Spain is a national tragedy, as it is in the UK and indeed every other country where abortion occurs”. 

“Spain’s abortion rate is considerably lower than the abortion rate in England and Wales. The Spanish law includes a three-day consideration period and a fourteen-week limit for most abortions. These additional safeguards in the law in Spain are likely playing some part in their lower abortion rate and fewer lives being lost to abortion in the country”. 

“Polling shows that the British public supports introducing more safeguards to abortion legislation to England, Wales and Scotland. Strong majorities support introducing a cooling-off period and lowering the current twenty-four week time limit”.

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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