Thousands in UK Have Had Four Abortions and Many Teenagers Three

by Gopalan on  May 19, 2008 at 1:07 PM Women Health News
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 Thousands in UK Have Had Four Abortions and Many Teenagers Three
Thousands in the UK have had at least four abortions, and scores of teenagers have notched up their third, according to figures made available by the Department of Health.

Nearly 4,000 women have had four or more terminations, and dozens have had eight or more.

In 2006, 947 women had their fifth abortion, 192 were on their sixth, 110 had their seventh abortion, while 54 had their eight, ninth or tenth abortion.

In total, more than 3,800 women clocked up at least their fourth termination.

There were also 82 teenagers who had their third abortion.

Overall, the number of women having repeat abortions has soared to record levels.

Official figures show that in 2006, a total of 59,687 abortions were carried out in England on women who had already had one in the past.

A third of terminations are now repeats, and the number has gone up by 5 per cent in two years.

Among under 20s, the number of repeat abortions is rising. In 2006, 5,542 teenagers - or 32 per cent - had had a previous abortion, up from 28 per cent a decade earlier.

Last year it was revealed that one 18-year-old girl had her sixth abortion in 2006.

Britain's abortion rate is rising with such speed that it is on course to overtake the U.S. by the end of the decade, Daily Mail reports.

In England and Wales, there were 18.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44.

In the States, the rate is now 19.4, but has been on the way down since 1980.

The stark figures come as MPs prepare to vote on whether to lower the upper time limit from 24 weeks to 20 - a move which pro-lifers say would cut the number of abortions.

Campaign leader Nadine Dorries, a Tory MP and former nurse, will argue for her amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill when it is debated on Tuesday.

Attacking the high number of repeat abortions, she said: "Abortion has moved from a resource that women turn to in an emergency and a point of crisis to becoming a form of contraception.

"This has been brought about as a result of an ill-conceived notion that it is just a minor procedure with no side or lasting effects - but this is not the case."

Dr Peter Saunders, general secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: "This is just so grotesquely bleak."

Philip Davies, a Tory MP, said: "All of these horrifying statistics show that the current system on abortion is a complete failure.

"The laws are far too lax and the policy of having sex education rammed down children's throats is a failure. We need a new tack - we've tried the liberal approach for far too long."

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which carries out 55,000 abortions a year, said: "Most women take embarking upon motherhood extremely seriously, which most people would agree is a positive thing: these are fundamental decisions.

"For some women faced with an unintended pregnancy, that will mean having an abortion. As last year's abortion statistics show however, the majority of women - 68 per cent - having an abortion were doing so for the first time.

"There is no 100 per cent effective form of contraception and as women's circumstances can change across their reproductive years, more than one abortion may be unavoidable.

"These days, women typically have their first child at an older age, some women choose to remain childless altogether, and society increasingly has a strong sense of parents needing to be responsible for their children.

"Unintended pregnancy can happen to any sexually active woman, and to many people the idea that they might drift into parenthood simply because of a missed pill or split condom, is not very acceptable."

Miss Dorries claims the support of 200 MPs, including Tory leader David Cameron, for her 20 week amendment.

But in order to win, she would need at least another 200 MPs to abstain.

Miss Dorries says the law should be changed because at some hospitals around the world, more premature babies were surviving at younger than 24 weeks.

But last month a major national study, looking at all hospitals, concluded there was no improvement in survival rates for babies born at such a young age.

Health minister Dawn Primarolo said it was impossible to predict which was the vote would go on abortion. She urged MPs to maintain the 'status quo' over the upper abortion limit.

"I think that there is still a very intense debate and those who are seeking to move the limit from 24 weeks have not made the case in terms of either women's rights or on what the medical profession is advising us on what is possible," she told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show.

"I hope that the House agrees that the decision they made last time when they considered time limits was the correct one, and there will be no change from 24 weeks."

Source: Medindia

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