UK reports record abortion numbers

The latest statistics show that there were 252,122 abortions reported in England and Wales in 2022, the highest number on record and an increase of 17% on 2021’s figure.

The majority of these abortions (251,377) were to residents of England and Wales.

Credit: UK Government Office for Health Improvement & Disparities

Catherine Robinson, a spokesperson for Right to Life UK, described the statistics as a “national tragedy”.

“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.

“Ahead of the General Election, we are calling on the next Government to urgently bring forward new protections for unborn children and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. Polling shows these changes are backed by the public and this would ensure we are working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of lives that are lost to abortion each year,” Ms Robinson said.

Of the various ‘grounds’ for abortion, in 2022, 98% of abortions (247,440) were performed under ‘ground C’: “That the pregnancy has not exceeded its 24th 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.”

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.

The NHS funded almost all abortions (99%) in England and Wales in 2022, with 80% of abortions taking place in the independent sector.

Just 201 women who were resident in Ireland travelled to England and Wales in 2022 for an abortion, with 63% of these carried out under the aforementioned ‘ground C’ – an increase of 13% on 2021.

The data for 2022 also show a rise in repeat abortions from 91,313 in 2021 up to 102,689 in 2022.

Figures showed that 72 ‘selective termination’ procedures were carried out, where a twin, triplet or more were aborted while there were over 3,000 (3,124) disability-selective abortions in 2022.

In 2022, 86% of abortions were medically induced, similarly to 87% in 2021, with medical abortions surging by 38 percent since 2012 (48%).

The vast majority of abortions (82%) were for women whose marital status was given as ‘single’, which is a proportion that has remained stable over the past decade, while 51% were to those whose marital status was given as ‘single with a partner’, which has also remained constant in recent years.

Ethnicity was recorded on 91% of the forms received for 2022, and where it was recorded, 77% of those having abortions reported their ethnicity as ‘white’, 9% as ‘Asian’, 8% as ‘black’, 5% as ‘mixed’ and less than 1% as ‘other’.



Jason Osborne


This article was first published on Gript and is printed here with permission


Photo credit: Lazaro Rodriguez J via Pexels

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