22 June 2023
- Data released today (22nd June 2023) by the Department of Health shows an increase of 17% in the number of abortions in England and Wales.
- Between January and June 2022, there were 123,219 abortions performed on residents of England and Wales. This compares with 105,488 over the same period in 2021.
- The reproductive healthcare charity BPAS cited financial pressures, including “the impact of interest rate hikes and the huge increase in the cost of living”, as leading to continued high need among women
- “We are potentially looking at very significant changes in childbearing and family size in the years to come, particularly as women choose to start their families later, limit their family size or simply decide they do not wish – or cannot afford – to have children.”
- The charity has also called for better access to emergency contraception as a matter of urgency. Currently, women are unable to purchase this emergency contraception without undergoing a clinically unnecessary consultation, a barrier which prevents some from obtaining this important back-up method as swiftly as possible.
Commenting on the figures, Clare Murphy, BPAS Chief Executive, said:
“Unplanned pregnancies are not always unwanted, and many of the women we see tell us that the circumstances they are in mean it is simply not the right time to start or expand a family. This is reflected in the statistics published today, and while they only account for the first half of the year women’s need for our services has only continued to increase. We cannot see this changing at as we go forward, given the impact of interest rate hikes and the huge increase in cost of living.
"We are potentially looking at very significant changes in childbearing and family size in the years to come, particularly as women choose to start their families later, limit their family size or simply decide they do not wish – or cannot afford – to have children. While there is no right number of abortions, we know that there is much more the government can do to ensure that women are able to make the decisions that are right for themselves and for their families.
“We need contraception services that meet women's requirements, including better access to emergency contraception as a matter of urgency. It makes absolutely no sense to continue to compel women to undergo a clinically unnecessary consultation which acts as nothing but a barrier to her getting what she needs as quickly as possible. It needs to be available on the shelf of pharmacies and supermarkets. We also need to recognise that existing methods all have limitations and there is an urgent need for research and development into new methods.
“No contraceptive method however will ever negate the need for swift, accessible abortion care and BPAS is committed to provide kind, compassionate care to every woman who needs us, whenever that may be.”
The full report, Abortion statistics for England and Wales: January to June 2022, is available online here.
For further information, please contact Katherine O’Brien, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications, on katherine.o’email@example.com or 07881 265276.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, BPAS, is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain.
BPAS exists to further women’s reproductive choices. We believe all women should have the right to make their own decisions in and around pregnancy, from the contraception they use to avoid pregnancy right the way through to how they decide to feed their newborn baby, with access to evidence-based information to underpin their choices and high-quality services and support to exercise them.
BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, CRRC. Through rigorous multidisciplinary research and impactful communication, the CRRC aims to inform policy, practice, and public discourse. You can find out more here.