Quick Exit (or press ESC)

Rising Cost of Living Drives Record Abortion Rate

Rising Cost of Living Drives Record Abortion Rate

Rising Cost of Living Drives Record Abortion Rate

23 May 2024

Demand for abortions has surged to unprecedented levels amid the cost of living crisis, reaching a record high in 2022.

  • There were 251,377 abortions for women resident in England and Wales in 2022 - the highest number since the Abortion Act was introduced and an increase of 17% over the previous year.
  • The 2022 annual abortion rate increased to 20.6 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, surpassing the previous peak in 2021.
  • In 2022, those living in the most deprived areas of England were almost twice as likely to have an abortion than those living in the least deprived areas.
  • A survey of over 1300 women by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) in May 2024 and released today has found that financial factors have either mainly or partly impacted the decision to end a pregnancy for the majority of women (57%).
  • Access to contraception remains a significant issue, with 36% of women unable to get the contraception they wanted or facing delays, leading to unwanted pregnancies and subsequent abortions.

Heidi Stewart, Chief Executive of BPAS, said:

“No woman should have to end a pregnancy she would otherwise have continued purely for financial reasons. The stories women have shared with us are heartbreaking. The costs of living crisis has placed immense strain on women and families, with too many having to choose between financial stability and having a baby.

“These women have also told us that they are facing long waits for contraceptive appointments, being refused by  healthcare professionals for specific contraceptive methods, and experiencing limited options for non-hormonal birth control. No woman should become pregnant because healthcare services are failing to provide women with the contraception they want and need, when they need it.

“With the second highest childcare costs in the developed world, whichever party is elected come 4 July needs to prioritise curbing the cost of living and making childcare more affordable.

“But we are also calling on the incoming government to be a government that prioritises women’s health. This means improving access to contraception, making bold choices in contraceptive innovation and  giving women real reproductive choice.

“And it means protecting, supporting and investing in abortion services both inside Parliament and out. This Parliament has seen unprecedented attempts at restricting abortion access and services. At a time when abortion rates are at a record high – we cannot afford to have any restrictions to abortion rights and services in the next Parliament.

“But for the women that need us, we will always be here. Providing swift, accessible and compassionate abortion care for our women.”


For further information, please contact Georgina O’Reilly, BPAS Associate Director of Campaigns and Communications (maternity cover), on georgina.oreilly@bpas.org or 07384 891886.

Notes to Editors:

BPAS conducted the survey of 1311 women in May 2024. The survey aimed to better understand the factors involved in the decision to have an abortion, whether they be financial or otherwise. We asked three questions: first, whether women’s decision to end their pregnancy was mainly due to financial factors or other considerations; second, whether women had faced barriers accessing contraception; and third, whether there is anything else women wanted to share about their decision to end the pregnancy and/or about their experiences accessing contraception. The survey did not collect any personal information about the respondents.

The survey results can be found here: costofliving_report (bpas.org)

The 2022 Annual Abortion Statistics for England and Wales can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/abortion-statistics-for-england-and-wales-2022

About BPAS

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.