The following National Statistics were released recently by the Department of Health:
Abortion Statistics, England & Wales: 2007
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%
- the age-standardised abortion rate was 18.6 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, compared with 18.3 in 2006
- the abortion rate was highest at 36 per 1,000, for women aged 19
- 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
- 90% of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks gestation; 70% were at under 10 weeks
- medical abortions accounted for 35% of the total compared with 30% in 2006
- 1,900 abortions (1%) were under ground E, risk that the child would be born handicapped
- in 2007, there were 7,100 abortions for non-residents carried out in hospitals and clinics in England and Wales (7,400 in 2006)
2006 2007 All abortions 193,737 (100%) 198,499 (100%) 3-9 weeks 131,041 (67.6%) 139,144 (70.1%) 10-12 weeks 41,831 (21.6%) 38,998 (19.6%) 13-19 weeks 17,917 (9.2%) 17,430 (8.8%) 20-21 weeks 1,686 (0.9%) 1,726 (0.9%) 22-23 weeks 1,126 (0.6%) 1,066 (0.5%) 24 weeks and over 136 (0.1%) 135 (0.1%)
Provisional quarterly data for Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2007 have been published in Health Statistics Quarterly; this is the first time full year figures for 2007 are being published.
In July 2005, ONS produced a report on disclosure guidance for abortion statistics, with recommendations on the suppression levels to be used for unsafe cells. Applying the recommendations allows us to publish abortions statistics at a detailed level without risk of breaching patient and practitioner data confidentiality. In addition, ONS published disclosure guidelines for wider health statistics in October 2006.
The recommendations were applied to the 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 data (published in June 2007), and they have been used in subsequent PQs and FOI requests. Similarly, the 2007 bulletin tables have also been produced in line with the ONS recommendations. For areas that have been continually suppressed due to small numbers every year, for example abortion numbers for young ages, the 2005 bulletin, published in 2006, included analysis based on three-yearly aggregated data (2003-2005). Further 3-year aggregate tables are planned for publication in 2009 for the years 2006-2008.
ONS is currently reviewing its guidance on disclosure of abortion statistics.
Department of Health (UK)