For the first time, the percentage of pregnancies that end in abortion in the United Kingdom has surpassed 25% according to data released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Data released last week for 2019 shows that the figure increased for the second year in a row and increased from 24% to 25.2%.
Abortions are increasing among all age groups and The Times UK notes the growth follows years of rising pregnancy rates among women in their 30s and 40s who delay having families.
According to the ONS figures, out of the 821,809 pregnancies in England and Wales in 2019, 207,384 ended in abortion.
In 2018, the ONS recorded the highest number of abortions ever recorded since the practice was legalized in 1990, which although they accounted for a slightly smaller percentage of total pregnancies, was actually higher than the figure for 2019 at 209,519 total abortions.
However, according to abortion statistics released by the Department for Health and Social Care released in May of this year for all of 2020, last year saw the record for total number of abortions across England and Wales at 210,860, an increase of 1,341 from 2019.
Right to Life UK notes that while the ONS has not yet released the figures indicating the total percentage of pregnancies that ended in abortion for 2020, the record-high reported abortions indicate that it will exceed 25% for last year.
In 2020, England and Wales temporarily approved “home abortions” involving abortion pills amid the coronavirus pandemic.
We are pleased to announce that the Government has reinstated the use of a telemedical abortion service that will now protect women across the country! 🙌💜 pic.twitter.com/v91UXBI1VT
— BPAS (@BPAS1968) March 30, 2020
“We are updating our guidance so women who need an abortion up to ten weeks and can’t access a clinic can use abortion pills at home,” England’s Department of Health told the media at the time.
“This measure will be on a temporary basis and must follow a telephone or e-consultation with a doctor.”
However, as Right to Life UK notes, “According to a leaked ‘urgent email’ sent by a regional chief midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement on the ‘escalating risks’ of ‘DIY’ home abortions, several women attended Emergency Departments for incidents including significant pain and bleeding, ruptured ectopics, and resuscitation for major haemorrhage.”
“The email leak also revealed police opened a murder investigation into the death of a baby who they believe was born alive despite her mother taking ‘DIY’ home abortion pills,” they also noted.
“It is a tragedy that over a quarter of all pregnancies in England and Wales ended due to abortion in 2019,” the organization’s spokesperson Catherine Robinson said of the distressing data.
She also noted that the likelihood of higher abortion rates for 2020 is “worrying” given “that the introduction of the home abortion scheme has put so many women at risk of complications, and has facilitated a number of illegal abortions past the legal term limit for ‘at home’ abortions.”
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