Increase in abortion numbers19th June 2007
New figures show the number of abortions carried out in England and Wales rose by almost 4% in 2006.
193,700 women had the procedure last year - a rise of 3.9% since 2005. The number of women under-16 rose to 3.9 per 1,000 women, and among under-18s to 18.2 per 1,000. The highest figures were for women aged 19 - 35 per 1,000 women.
Three in ten abortions were performed using an "abortion pill" - showing a rise of 24% of the previous year's total. Nearly 90% of abortions were performed at under 13 weeks gestation.
1% of the total figure were performed because the child would have been born disabled.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists commented on the figures, saying they were "disappointing" and demonstrated the government's lack of action in dealing with the issue of unplanned pregnancies.
Health Minister Caroline Flint said the government welcomed the fact that more procedures were carried out at an early stage of pregnancy.
She said: "It is important that women have early access to abortion services as the earlier the abortion, the lower the risk of complications. However, the NHS needs to work harder to reduce the demand for abortions by improving access to contraception."
Anne Weyman, chief executive of the Family Planning Assocation said contraceptive services were currently "in crisis".
She said the government was cutting back on services and "clinics [were] closing up and down the country."
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