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BPAS response to new abortion figures in England and Wales

Published 19 June 2008

Ann Furedi, Chief Executive of the abortion and contraception provider charity BPAS (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service) said of the statistics on abortion in England and Wales from 2007, released today by the Department of Health

‘These statistics confirm the underlying trends of the past few years. There is much to welcome in these statistics, such as the rise in the proportion of abortions happening at under 10 weeks. This is partly the result of concerted efforts by BPAS working with the NHS to reach as many women as possible, as early as possible. However much more needs to be done to improve earlier access to abortion. Family planning experts all agree that UK law must be modernised before that can happen. 

‘Teenagers, like every other age group, see parenthood as a significant social responsibility and not something to drift into after a slipped condom or a missed pill. The small number of girls and their parents who come to talk to us about pregnancy options are always very distressed about their situation. But the problem is their unintended pregnancy, not the abortion. The solution to the complex issue of teenage pregnancy can never be to force young girls to become unwilling mothers.  

‘Much more needs to be done to equip young people to deal with the complexities of their personal relationships and to empower them to ask for high quality, user-friendly forms of contraception without embarrassment. In typical use, the failure rate of condoms, a method which young people often rely on, can be as high as 15%.’ 




For more information, or to arrange an interview with BPAS’ Chief Executive Ann Furedi, please contact the BPAS press office on 07788 725 185.  

The registered charity BPAS, (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service) has been providing health services since 1968. BPAS was founded to train doctors and provide premises and healthcare because at that time the whole of the NHS was not able, or in some areas, willing to provide full family planning and abortion care.  

BPAS is the UK’s leading not-for-profit sexual healthcare provider. As well as contraceptive advice and treatment for men and women, BPAS carried out around 60,000 terminations of pregnancy in 2007. 87% per cent of all BPAS’ treatments were carried out on behalf of the NHS. Typical non-NHS funded clients may have travelled from Eire, Northern Ireland or Italy, where access to safe, legal abortion remains restricted by law. BPAS has centres across England, Wales and Scotland. Please see for further information.  

For a table of contraceptive failure rates according to typical (‘real world’) use (and ‘perfect use’ i.e. as according to manufacturer’s instructions) please see below. showing the failure rate for condoms is 15% according to real world ‘typical’ use. 

Department of Health statistics for 2007 Show that in 2007, for women resident in England and Wales:

- the total number of abortions was 198,500, compared with 193,700 in 2006, a rise of 2.5%

- 90% of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks gestation; 70% were at under 10 weeks

-the under-16 abortion rate was 4.4 and the under-18 rate was 19.8 per 1,000 women, both higher than in 2006

-89% of abortions were funded by the NHS; of these, just over half (57%) took place in the independent sector under NHS contract 

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, (RCOG) states that ‘At least one-third of British women will have had an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45’ (see p1, ‘Care of women requesting induced abortion’, Evidence-based Guideline Number 7, Sept 2004).

For most women, having an abortion poses fewer medical risks than going through pregnancy and birth. See the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ (RCOG) information on this for more details.

DIARY NOTE: BPAS conference ‘The Future of Abortion: Controversies & Care': Wednesday 25 June - Thursday 26 June at the QEII Conference Centre in Westminster. BPAS’ conference ‘The Future of Abortion: Controversies & Care' will be opened by the Rt. Honourable Dawn Primarolo MP, Minister of State for Public Health at 9.15 am on 25 June. Please see the conference website ( for more details and a full conference programme. 

For further information please contact:

Laura Riley, BPAS Press and Public Policy Manager

020 7612 0206

07788 725 185 


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