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Abortion rate at record high.

Byline: DEBORA ARU

Arecord proportion of pregnancies in England and Wales in 2018 ended in abortions.

Almost a quarter of conceptions (24.0%) led to a legal abortion in 2018, up from 22.7% in 2017.

This is the highest percentage since records began in 1990 when the proportion was 19.9%, figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

David Corps, from the ONS's vital statistics outputs branch, said: "In 2018, the conception rate in England and Wales fell to its lowest level since 2004, while the proportion that led to a legal abortion increased to its highest point since records began in 1990.

"Although conception rates for women under 18 years have more than halved in the last decade, they remain twice as high in more deprived areas of England than less deprived areas.

"However, analysis shows that a smaller proportion of these conceptions lead to abortions for under-18s living in more deprived areas."

Falling conception rates among under 18s mean that, even though 52.8% of conceptions led to an abortion in 2018, the total number of abortions has decreased yearon-year from a peak of 21,494 in 2007 to 8,260 in 2018.

The number of abortions increased for every age group excluding under 20s last year, with the biggest increase among women aged 30 to 34 years.

In 2018, 39,238 pregnancies for women in that age range were terminated - up from 36,120 in 2017 - and the figure has risen drastically since 2009, when it was 26,447.

Overall, the number of conceptions fell for the third year in a row.

In 2018, there were an estimated 839,043 conceptions compared with 847,204 in 2017, 863,106 in 2016 and 876,934 in 2015.

This suggests that the number of births and birth rates are likely to decline in 2019, the ONS said.

Jonathan Lord, Marie Stopes UK's Medical Director said: "Both the reduction in the conception rate and the 1.3 percentage point increase in the abortion rate show that women are choosing to have fewer children.

"This shows that it is more important than ever that women of all ages have access to the full range of contraceptive options and if that contraception fails, good quality abortion services, which we are here to provide."

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The proportion of conceptions leading to abortion

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Author:DEBORA ARU
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 18, 2020
Words:394
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