Abort73.com > Facts About Abortion > U.K. Abortion Statistics

#greatbritain #uk #england #abortionfacts #factsaboutabortion@abort73

U.K. Abortion Statistics

Facts and figures relating to the frequency of abortion in Great Britain.

U.K. Abortion Statistics: Facts and figures relating to the frequency of abortion in Great Britain.
>

Abortion statistics for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are available from the Department of Health and Social Care (England and Wales), National Services Scotland, and the Department of Health (Northern Ireland). Abortion was legalized in Northern Ireland by British parliament in 2019 but remains broadly unavailable. The following information has been gleaned from all three sources and combined with available birth data1 to provide an overview of the frequency and demography of abortion in Great Britain.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ABORTION, visit: Prenatal Development, Abortion Procedures or Abortion Pictures

IF YOU ARE PREGNANT AND NEED HELP, visit the Pregnancy Choices Directory.

ANNUAL ABORTION STATISTICS

  • In 2021, a reported 228,711 abortions took place in Great Britain, up from 224,819 in 2020.
  • In 2021, approximately 25% of all pregnancies in Great Britain (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion.
  • The highest abortion rates* belong to The Black Coutry and West Birmingham (25.9), Greater Manchester (23.1), and Cheshire and Merseyside (22.5); the lowest abortion rates belong to Lincolnshire (12.9), Devon (14.2), and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (14.2).

Annual Abortion Statistics (England & Wales)

  • In 2021, a reported 214,869 abortions took place in England and Wales. That's up from 210,860 in 2020 and 209,519 in 2019. Additional abortion totals by selected year are listed below:
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year
    2015 2010 2005 2000 1995 1990 1985 1980 1975 1970
    191,014 196,109 194,353 185,375 163,638 186,912 171,873 160,903 139,702 86,565
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year
    2015 2010 2005 2000 1995
    191,014 196,109 194,353 185,375 163,638
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year
    1990 1985 1980 1975 1970
    186,912 171,873 160,903 139,702 86,565
  • Approximately 26% of all pregnancies (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion in 2021. Additional abortion percentages by selected year are listed below:
    Percentage of Pregnancies Aborted by Year (excluding spontaneous miscarriages)
    2015 2010 2005 2000 1995 1990 1985 1980 1975 1970
    21.5% 21.3% 23.1% 23.5% 20.1% 20.9% 20.8% 19.7% 18.8% 9.9%
    Percentage of Pregnancies Aborted by Year (excluding spontaneous miscarriages)
    2015 2010 2005 2000 1995
    21.5% 21.3% 23.1% 23.5% 20.1%
    Percentage of Pregnancies Aborted by Year (excluding spontaneous miscarriages)
    1990 1985 1980 1975 1970
    20.9% 20.8% 19.7% 18.8% 9.9%
  • Total annual abortions in England and Wales have increased 292% since 1969, the first full year that abortion was legal. The total number of annual abortions more than doubled between 1969 and 1971. The 214,869 abortions reported in 2021 is the highest total on record.
  • More than 9.2 million abortions occurred in England and Wales between 1968 and 2021.

Annual Abortion Statistics (Scotland)

  • In 2021, a reported 13,783 abortions took place in Scotland. That’s down from 13,896 in 2020 and 13,583 in 2019. Additional abortion totals by selected year are listed below:
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year
    2015 2010 2005 2000 1995 1990 1985 1980 1975 1970
    12,135 12,949 12,665 11,997 11,143 10,219 9,189 7,905 7,327 5,254
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year
    2015 2010 2005 2000 1995
    12,082 12,948 12,665 11,997 11,143
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year
    1990 1985 1980 1975 1970
    10,219 9,189 7,905 7,327 5,254
  • Approximately 22% of all pregnancies (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion in 2021. Additional abortion percentages by selected year are listed below:
    Percentage of Pregnancies Aborted by Year (excluding spontaneous miscarriages)
    2015 2010 2005 2000 1995 1990 1985 1980 1975 1970
    18.0% 18.0% 18.9% 18.4% 15.7% 13.4% 12.1% 10.2% 9.7% 5.7%
    Percentage of Pregnancies Aborted by Year (excluding spontaneous miscarriages)
    2015 2010 2005 2000 1995
    18.0% 18.0% 18.9% 18.4% 15.7%
    Percentage of Pregnancies Aborted by Year (excluding spontaneous miscarriages)
    1990 1985 1980 1975 1970
    13.4% 12.1% 10.2% 9.7% 5.7%
  • Total annual abortions in Scotland have increased 287% since 1969, the first full year that abortion was legal. The total number of annual abortions more than doubled between 1969 and 1972. There were 13,908 abortions reported in 2008, which is the highest total on record.
  • More than 560,000 abortions occurred in Scotland between 1968 and 2021.

Annual Abortion Statistics (Northern Ireland)2

  • In 2021**, a reported 53 abortions took place in Northern Ireland.
  • Additional annual abortion totals**:
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year (within Northern Ireland)
    2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
    63 22 8 12 13 16 16 23
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year (within Northern Ireland)
    2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
    63 22 8 12 13
  • In 2021, a reported 161 abortions were performed on residents of Northern Ireland in England and Wales.
  • Additional annual totals for abortions performed on residents of Northern Ireland in England and Wales:
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year (outside Northern Ireland)
    2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
    371 1,014 1,053 861 724 833 837 802 905 1,007 1,101
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year (outside Northern Ireland)
    2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
    371 1,014 1,053 861 724
    Annual Abortion Totals by Year (outside Northern Ireland)
    2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
    833 837 802 905 1,007

    In June 2017, the UK announced that it would fund abortions for residents in Northern Ireland. Prior to the announcement, women from Northern Ireland could access abortions in the rest of the UK, but would have to make their own arrangements and fund all aspects of the procedure.
    **Northern Ireland reports by fiscal year, which is April 1 through March 31 of the year following.

WHO HAS ABORTIONS?

  • Among the residents of England and Wales, unmarried women accounted for 82% of all 2021 abortions.
  • Women in their 20s accounted for the majority of abortions in 2021; women aged 20-24 had the highest abortion rate.
  • Adolescents under 16 years obtained half a percent of all 2021 abortions in England and Wales; women aged 16–17 years accounted for 2.4%.
  • In 2021, 11% of all Scotland abortions were performed on teenagers, which is down from a high of 32% in 1984. Women aged 30 and above accounted for 38% of 2021 abortions—the highest percentage on record.
  • Percentage of 2019 Reported Abortions by Age of Mother (England & Wales):
    <16 years 16–17 years 18–19 years 20–24 years 25–29 years 30–34 years 35+ years
    0.5% 2% 7% 26% 25% 21% 19%
    <16 years 16–17 years 18–19 years 20–24 years
    0.5% 2% 7% 26%
    25–29 years 30–34 years 35+ years
    25% 21% 19%
  • In England and Wales, women with no prior abortions accounted for 57% of all abortions in 2021. Among women who obtained abortions in 2019, 43% had never given birth.
  • Approximately 0.2% of the abortions that took place in England and Wales in 2021 were performed on non-residents. Of these 613 abortions, 34% were performed on residents of the Irish Republic (206), 26% were performed on residents of Northern Ireland (161), and 25% were performed on residents of Scotland (150).

WHY DO ABORTIONS OCCUR?

Strictly speaking, elective abortion is not legal in Great Britain. Before an abortion can take place, two doctors must certify that the pregnancy is a threat to the life or health of the mother—or her children. As such, a medical reason is required for every abortion that takes place in the United Kingdom; doctors have seven reasons to choose from. In practice, the third reason (C), which states that continued pregnancy threatens the physical or mental health of the mother, has become the de facto response for elective abortion. In 2019, it was the statutory reason for 98% of all abortions among residents of England, Wales, and Scotland.

  • Less than 0.05% of 2021 abortions were performed to save the life of the mother.
  • Less than 0.5% of 2021 abortions were performed for the benefit of already-born children.
  • Less than 2% of 2021 abortions were performed because of fetal anomaly.

WHEN DO ABORTIONS OCCUR? (England & Wales)

  • Approximately 94% of 2021 resident abortions happened during the first trimester, prior to the 13th week of gestation.
  • In 2021, approximately 5% of all abortions occurred between 13-19 weeks' gestation; 1% occurred ≥20 weeks' gestation.
  • Percentage of 2021 Reported Abortions by Weeks of Gestation (England & Wales)*:
    ≤6 wks 7 wks 8 wks 9 wks 10 wks 11 wks 12 wks 13 wks 14-15 wks 16-17 wks 18-20 wks ≥21 wks
    50% 19% 13% 7% 1.5% 1.7% 1.6% 1.5% 1.7% 1.2% 0.9% 1.0%
    ≤6 wks 7 wks 8 wks 9 wks 10 wks 11 wks 12 wks
    50% 19% 13% 7% 1.5% 1.7% 1.6%
    13 wks 14-15 wks 16-17 wks 18-20 wks ≥21 wks
    1.5% 1.7% 1.2% 0.9% 1.0%

    *Gestational weeks are measured from the first day of the woman's last menstruation and not from the day of conception. Though it does not provide an accurate fetal age (which is roughly 2 weeks less than the gestational age), it is the simplest way for an OB/GYN to age a pregnancy since the day of conception is often not known. Hence, if an abortion occurs at 8 weeks gestation, it is actually aborting a 6 week embryo. The images on our Prenatal Development and Abortion Pictures pages are more precisely captioned with fetal ages in accordance with standard teaching texts on prenatal development.

HOW DOES ABORTION TAKE PLACE?

  • In 2021, 8% of resident abortions in England and Wales were performed by vacuum aspiration; 4% were performed by dilatation and evacuation.
  • Medical abortions made up 87% of all 2021 resident abortions in England and Wales.
  • In Scotland, medical abortions accounted for 99% of all abortions in 2021.
  • Approximately 21% of all 2021 resident abortions in England and Wales occurred in an NHS Hospital. The rest occurred in independent abortion clinics.

ABORTION AND PUBLIC FUNDS

  • In 2021, 99% of all resident abortions in England and Wales were paid for with public funds.

ABORTIONS BY REGION (England & Wales) 

  • The table below shows regional abortion data for England and Wales:
    Locality Total Abortions (2021) Abortion Rate (2021)*
    North East and Yorkshire 28,515 17.1
    North West 30,631 22.2
    Midlands 39,160 19.1
    East of England 21,016 18.0
    London 41,455 20.3
    South East 27,614 17.3
    South West 15,271 15.4
    Wales 10,594 17.9

    *The abortion rate is the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44.

This page was last updated on March 23, 2023. To cite this page in a research paper, visit: "Citing Abort73 as a Source."

    Footnotes

  1. In 2019, there were 640,370 births recorded in England and Wales, 51,308 births (2018) recorded in Scotland, and 22,829 births (2018) recorded in Northern Ireland.
  2. Annual health data for Northern Ireland spans portions of two calendar years. Their fiscal year begins on April 1. Annual abortion totals include the last nine months of the year listed and the first three months of the year following.

Get Help

If you’re pregnant and contemplating abortion, what a mercy that you’ve found this website! Abortion is not the answer—no matter what anyone is telling you.

Click here to find local help.

Click here for hundreds of real-life abortion stories.

Click here if you've already had an abortion.

Get Involved

Abortion persists because of ignorance, apathy and confusion. Abort73 is working to change that; you can help! Get started below:

Violence Against the Small is Still Violence

Social Media Graphics:

Post them online to introduce your friends, fans or followers to Abort73.com.

Life Is Not an Accident

Abort73 Shirts:

Be a walking billboard for Abort73.com.

Love Your Unborn Neighbor

Abort73 Promo Cards:

Stash some in your wallet or purse and be ready to hand them out or strategically leave them behind.

Without Life, There is No Liberty

Support Abort73

Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. We are almost entirely supported by private donations—all of which are tax-deductible. Click here to make a contribution.

Giving Assistant is another way to raise money for Abort73 at thousands of online retailers. Use this link to get started.