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Number of abortions at highest since the introduction of the Abortion Act

18 April 2024
Pregnant mother and doctor 3

In 2021, England and Wales recorded the highest number of abortions since the introduction of the Abortion Act in 1967, with 214,256 cases noted across the year.

The age-standardised abortion rate also peaked at 18.6 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Significantly, 99% of these procedures were funded by the NHS, reflecting a continued preference for medical abortions, which comprised 87% of the total.

Abortion rates for women under 18 have declined, but for those aged 22 and above the number of abortions has been steadily increasing over the last 10 years. The largest increase can be seen among women aged 30-34 years of age.

According to the same report on national statistics, in 2021 82% of women opting for an abortion listed their marital status as single – with 49% listed as single with a partner. These figures have remained fairly consistent in recent years.

In March 2022, Parliament voted in favour of the permanent provisions of at-home abortion kits in England and Wales after a scheme was introduced during the pandemic to allow women to take abortion pills at home without the need to visit a doctor.

This report is timely as MPs prepare to consider amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill, potentially altering abortion legislation for the first time in over three decades.

One amendment, championed by Labour MP Diana Johnson, seeks to stop women from being prosecuted for terminating pregnancies past the 24-week mark, while a separate amendment proposed by Conservative MP Caroline Ansell aims to reduce the legal time frame for abortion from 24 to 22 weeks.

Ansell’s amendment has attracted support from 36 MPs and aligns with public and female majority preferences for lowering the time limit to 20 weeks or below.

You can read the full report on the government website.

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In any pregnancy, both the woman and preborn baby have inherent value and dignity, by virtue of being made in the image of God. CARE is passionately pro-woman and pro-life.

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