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Press release – Abortion numbers record high, group calls for changes to abortion law

Record-high number of abortions in 2021

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press release – England & Wales abortion numbers record high, group calls for urgent changes to abortion law

21 June 2022 – Abortion statistics released by the Department for Health and Social Care this morning show the highest number of abortions ever recorded in England and Wales, with 214,869 taking place in 2021, an increase of 4,009 from 2020.

This significant rise in abortions has accompanied the first full year that ‘DIY’ home abortion services have been operating in England and Wales. Since ‘DIY’ home abortions were introduced, a number of significant problems have arisen. 

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

Right To Life UK has called for the Government to urgently bring forward new legislation to introduce new protections for the unborn child and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. This would ensure that society was working together to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year in the UK.

The figures show that: 

  • In England and Wales, there was a total of 214,869 abortions in 2021, an increase of 4,009 abortions from 2020 when there were 210,860 abortions.
    • 214,256 of these abortions were for residents of England and Wales, an increase of 4,339.
  • The statistics for 2021 also show a rise in repeat abortions from 87,926 in 2020 up to 91,313 in 2021.
    • This represents 3,387 more repeat abortions than in 2020.
    • This is a 3.85% increase from 2020.
  • 88 ‘selective termination’ procedures were performed, where a twin, triplet or more were aborted in the womb.
    • This represents a 35.38% increase from 2020.
  • There were 3,370 disability-selective abortions in 2021
    • This represents a 9.31% increase from 2020.
    • There was a 19.65% increase in late-term abortions for babies with disabilities at 24 weeks and over from 229 to 274.
  • 859 babies with Down’s syndrome were aborted in 2021, an increase of 23.95% from 693 in 2020.
    • There was also a 71.43% increase in late-term abortions at 24 weeks and over where a baby had Down’s syndrome from 14 in 2020 to 24 in 2021.
  • There were 40 abortions where the baby had cleft lip or cleft palate, an increase of 135.29% from 2019.
    • There was also a 100% increase in late-term abortions at 24 weeks and over where a baby had cleft lip or cleft palate from 3 in 2020 to 6 in 2021.
    • Sadly, the figures for cleft lip and palate are likely to be higher; for example, a 2013 review by Eurocat showed 157 babies were aborted with cleft lip and palate in England and Wales between 2006 and 2010. However, the Department of Health & Social Care (DoHSC) recorded only 14 such abortions.
  • The Department of Health and Social Care also reported that the number of abortions funded by the NHS performed by private abortion providers reached a record high of 165,400. This represents a 282.29% increase since 1999 when there were 43,266 abortions performed by private providers. 

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“It is a national tragedy that 214,869 lives were lost to abortion in England and Wales last year”.

“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”.

“Over the last couple of years, we have come together as a nation and made great sacrifices to protect the vulnerable from COVID-19. Sadly, at the very same time as protecting one group of vulnerable people, we as a society have also ended thousands of young vulnerable lives through abortion”.

“This significant rise in abortions has accompanied the first full year that ‘DIY’ home abortion services have been operating in England and Wales. Since governments permitted ‘DIY’ home abortions, many stories of illegal late-term abortions and safety abuses have come to light”.

“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”.

“We are calling on the Government to urgently bring forward new protections for unborn children and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. Polling shows these changes are backed by the public and this would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of lives that are lost to abortion each year”.

ENDS 

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