Half of abortions are given to women already with children

One in 14 girls revealed to have terminated a pregnancy, while repeat procedures rise by a third as abortion rates continue to rise

More mothers had abortions than childless women last year for the first time since the procedure became legal in Britain.

Latest statistics for 2011 published yesterday show that 51 per cent of women undergoing abortions already had at least one child.

Repeat abortions also rose to 36 per cent of the total, an increase of 5 per cent in the past decade. Among under-18s, 7 per cent had had one or more previous abortions

A leading abortion provider said the growing use of abortion to limit family size showed the need for contraceptive and sexual health services among older women and mothers had been neglected relative to younger women.

BPAS, formerly the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said the "massive" emphasis on infertility could be lulling older women in to wrongly believing they could not get pregnant.

Marie Stopes International, which provides abortion and contraceptive services, called on the Government to boost contraceptive provision for women who had already terminated at least one pregnancy.

Tracey McNeill, UK director, said: "We believe we need to radically change the way we provide post-abortion contraception to women, if we're going to reduce the number of abortions by any great number. We look to the Government to support us in our efforts, by transforming contraception provision in the UK. We would like to be able to check in with a woman at regular intervals after her abortion to see if she's still using the contraception we provided her with, or if she'd like us to provide a different method."

The proportion of mothers having abortions has risen by 1 per cent a year since 2008 to reach 51 per cent in 2011, having been stable at 47 per cent until 2007. In total, almost 190,000 abortions were carried out last year, the same rate – 17.5 per thousand women of reproductive age – as the previous year but down from the peak of 18.6 per thousand in 2007.

The statistics show abortions rose among the over-25s while they have fallen among the under-25s.

A spokesman for BPAS said: "Older women have been neglected. It is almost as if there is a belief that women's sex lives stop at 25 or 30. Women in their 30s are going off the Pill because there is a belief that after 10 years you ought to switch to other forms of contraception. We all know contraception is not 100 per effective."

"There are so many messages about the chances of conceiving going down rapidly after 30. We get women in their mid-30s who, because of these messages , assume they are not going to get pregnant and then have a slip up. We think of abortion as a young woman's issue but women also want to control the size of their families."

Social changes, including the breakdown of partnerships, the expectation that older women would have more active sex lives, and the "huge focus" on providing sexual health services to younger women were also factors, she said.


Total number of abortions carried out in England and Wales last year.

Suggested Topics
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    BI Manager - £50,000

    £49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

    BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

    £48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

    VB.Net Developer

    £35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

    SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn