Abortion rate hits record high in England and Wales

Abortion rate hits record high in England and Wales

UK abortions hit a record high last year as large numbers of older women terminated pregnancies.

A total of 210,860 abortions were carried out in England and Wales, with women over 35 accounting for an unprecedented 40,000 – up by 13,000 in a decade.

Nearly one in four of all pregnancies now ends in abortion. The 2020 total compares to 205,519 in 2019 and 190,406 in 2016. 

Department of Health figures showed 40,006 abortions among women over 35 – up from 27,046 in 2010. There were also large rises among women aged 25 to 35.

However, the 20,743 abortions among women under 20 was nearly half the 38,269 in 2010. 

The rise in abortions among older women has been linked to pressures to maintain careers and lifestyles.

The onset of lockdown last year saw the liberalisation of abortion law to allow ‘telemedical’ abortion, in which women have only an online consultation before being supplied with abortion drugs.