Rise in abortion numbers expected

THE number of women having abortions in England is expected to show a rise, according to figures due to be published.

The Department of Health will release statistics this morning revealing how many women had abortions in 2007.

Government figures published last June showed a 4% rise between 2005 and 2006. The new figures will undoubtedly fuel the debate over abortion, with MPs last month rejecting calls to lower the upper time limit. It remains at 24 weeks, after they rejected a range of proposals ranging from 12 to 22 weeks.

There were 193,737 abortions to women living in England and Wales in 2006, up from 186,416 in 2005, figures released last June showed. In addition, 7,436 abortions were carried out on residents of other countries, mainly Northern Ireland (17%) and the Irish Republic (68%).

For 2006, the abortion rate was 18.3 per 1,000 resident women in England and Wales aged 15-44, compared with 17.8 in 2005, and the rate was highest, at 35 per 1,000, for women aged 19.

The under-16 abortion rate was 3.9 and the under-18 rate was 18.2 per 1,000 women, both higher than in 2005. Ann Furedi, chief executive of the charity BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service), said some women fell pregnant despite being careful. “Women try hard to avoid becoming pregnant when they don’t want to become a mother or aren’t able to bring up a child, but unintended pregnancy still remains a significant public health problem,” she said.

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