Nearly one in four babies conceived in England and Wales aborted in 2018

Statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that nearly a quarter of pregnancies ended in abortion in 2018, the highest proportion since records began in 1990. 

The figures show that there were 839,043 conceptions for English and Welsh residents and 200,608 abortions.

This represents 24% of conceptions ending in abortion, or a ratio of close to one baby aborted for every three that are conceived.

This is up from 20.8% in 2012 and from 22.7% in 2017.

The figures also showed:

  • For the first time since 2013, the percentage of conceptions leading abortion increased for every age group. In 2018, the highest increase was recorded among women aged 20 to 24 years.
  • Under 20s – 48.4% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • 20 to 24 – 35% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • 25 to 29 – 21.4% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • 30 to 34 – 16.2% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • 35 to 39 – 19.2% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • 40 and over – 30.3% of conceptions lead to abortion.

Moreover, the percentage of conceptions leading to an abortion increased in all regions over the last decade.

In 2018, the South West had the lowest percentage of conceptions leading to a legal abortion (21.6%), while London remained the region with the highest percentage of conceptions leading to a legal abortion (27.1%).

In addition:

  • In England 24% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In Wales 23.4% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In North East 23.6% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In North West 26% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In Yorkshire and The Humber 22.8% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In East Midlands 21.9% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In West Midlands 24.5% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In East 21.8% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In London 27.1% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In South East 22.5% of conceptions lead to abortion.
  • In South West 21.6% of conceptions lead to abortion.

The spokesperson for Right to Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “It is a national tragedy that almost 1 in 4 conceptions among English and Welsh residents ended in abortion in 2018. This represents the highest proportion since records began in 1990.

“Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies…

“Proposals from abortion campaigners to remove legal restrictions around abortion and introduce abortion up to birth would likely see these numbers get even worse. The only winners in this sad state of affairs are abortion providers who can capitalise on this situation, and perhaps, are even part of the cause of it, insofar as they want ever more abortions to increase their income.

Polling shows large majorities of women in the UK support changes to our abortion laws that would have a positive impact on lowering the number of abortions. 70% of women want the current time limit on abortion to be lowered and 91% of women want a ban on sex-selective abortion.

“We are calling on the Government to urgently bring forward sensible new restrictions and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year…

“Vulnerable women should not be seen as a revenue opportunity but sadly we know this is not the reality as abortion itself is a multi-million pound industry. Private abortion clinics have a vested monetary interest in increasing the numbers of abortions they perform every year.”

Abortion campaigners say that abortion should be normalised, not stigmatised.

They say it is a common medical procedure which can occur because of foetal abnormalities or after fraught decisions, with many factors at play, including the health of the woman.

They say the only person who can make a decision about abortion is the pregnant woman in that situation as she has the right to choose.

Islam views abortion as generally haraam but it may be permitted in certain cases, such as if the pregnancy would put the mother’s life in real danger.

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