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Latest UK Abortion Statistics 2018

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.

Abortion statistics for 2018

Abortion statistics released on 13th June 2019 by the Department for Health show that abortion numbers are the highest in ten years, with 205,295 total abortions.

The Department of Health statistics can be found by clicking here:

Department of Health UK Abortion Statistics - 2018

The grounds are listed at the end of this article. The statistics are taken from the Department of Health’s publication for 2018, the most recent complete year available.

UK Key Statistics

  • There was a total of 205,295 abortions in 2018, including non-residents. For women resident in England and Wales there were 200,608 abortions. This is an increase of 7,762 (4%) total abortions since 2017 and the highest number recorded.
  • 39% of women undergoing abortions had had one or more previous abortions.
  • 47% of repeat abortions were to Black or Black British women.
  • There were 1,267 abortions to girls aged under 16.
  • Of these, 363 were to girls aged under 15.
  • There were also 746 to women aged 45 or over.
  • There were 3,269 disability-selective abortions in 2018.
    • 618 of these were for Down’s syndrome
    • 15 of these were for cleft/lip palate
  • There were a total of 289 late term abortions (24-week gestation and over).
  • 111 ‘selective termination’ procedures were performed, where a twin, triplet or more were aborted in the womb.
  • 98% of abortions are funded by The Department of Health. The number of abortions funded by the NHS performed by private abortion providers, such as bpas and Marie Stopes, reached a record high of 144,618, this represents 72% of abortions.
  • 71% of abortions were medical abortions.
  • 29% of abortions were surgical abortions.
  • Complications were reported in 336 cases in 2018, a rate of one in every 597 abortions.

Abortion numbers by grounds:

  • 0% (actual number 145) abortions were performed under ground A or B.
  • 97.7% (actual number 196,083) abortions were performed under ground C.
  • 0.6% (actual number 1,104) abortions were performed under ground D.
  • 1.6% (actual number 3,269) abortions were performed under ground E.
  • 0% (actual number 7) abortions were performed under grounds F or G.
  • The vast majority (99.9%) of abortions carried out under ground C alone were reported as being performed because of a risk to the woman’s mental health.

Grounds for Abortion

Ground 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))

Ground B:

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

Ground 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))

Ground 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))

Ground 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:

Ground F:

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

Ground G:

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