UK Abortion Statistics

In 2012 according to Department of Health statistics the total number of abortions on residents of England and Wales was 185,122. The figure including Scotland was 203419. This number excludes the 5,850 abortions performed on non-residents in the UK (a total of 190,972).

Every Child Begins The World Again

Introduction

When an abortion is performed in the UK the reason for it being procured is recorded by a Health Worker and the information kept by the Department of Health.

There are 7 categories (listed A-G) to cover just about any scenario.The Department of Health statistics can be found by following the link: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/
attachment_data/file/211790/2012_Abortion_Statistics.pdf The categories are listed at the end of this article. The statistics are taken from the Department of Health’s publication for 2012, the most recent complete year available.

UK Key Statistics

  • The total number of abortions in England and Wales including those performed on non-residents amounted to 190,972 in 2012 alone. The following statistics are taken from only those resident in England and Wales. This total number being 185,122.
  • The number of abortions to actually save the life of the mother. (Category F alone)  In 2012 there was one person in this category. 
  • In 2012 the vast majority (97%) of abortions were undertaken under Category C which is effectively for social reasons.  For example if a pregnant woman does not wish to change her lifestyle by remaining pregnant.
  • 1% were performed under category D and Category E; Categories A and B together accounted for 1% and the proportion of Category C has risen in proportion to the reduction in category D. 
  • 37% of women undergoing abortions had one or more previous abortions. The proportion has risen from about 29% since 1998. 
  • 841 abortions were carried out on women under 15.  
  • 97% of abortions in 2012 were funded by NHS. 
  • The Department of Health reports that there were only 278 complications due to the abortion procedure. This number is misleading as it only takes in to account the complications up to the time of discharge. Therefore any complications that become apparent after discharge are not included. 

Category A: the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman greater than if the pregnancy were terminated (Abortion Act, 1967 as amended, section 1(1)(c))

Category B: the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman (section 1(1)(b))

Category C: the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman (section 1(1)(a))

Category D: the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of any existing children of the family of the pregnant woman (section 1(1)(a))

Category E: there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped (section 1(1)(d)) or in an emergency, certified by the operating practitioner as immediately necessary:

Category F: to save the life of the pregnant woman (section 1(4))

Category G: to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman (section 1(4))

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