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UK News

Almost a quarter of pregnancies in 2018 resulted in legal abortion

by Press Association

The proportion of pregnancies resulting in legal abortions in England and Wales reached its highest level on record in 2018, official data shows.

Just under a quarter (24%) of estimated pregnancies to women resident in England and Wales resulted in a legal abortion, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This was up from 22.7% in 2017 and the highest percentage since records began three decades ago.

It comes as the number of conceptions to women of all ages fell for a third year running.



In 2018, there were an estimated 839,043 conceptions to women of all ages in England and Wales, compared with 847,204 in 2017.

This suggests that birth rates, on which data will be available later this year, are likely to have continued to decline in 2019, the ONS said.

The conception rate fell almost 1% from 2017, and has not been so low since 2004.

The rate for girls up to the age of 17 decreased for the 11th year in a row, the longest continued fall since records began.

For this age group, the conception rate was higher in the 50% most deprived areas in England, while the proportion of pregnancies leading to an abortion was lower in these areas.

For a third year running, women aged 40 and over were the only group where conception rates increased.

David Corps, from the ONS's vital statistics outputs branch, said: "In 2018, the conception rate in England and Wales fell to its lowest level since 2004, while the proportion that led to a legal abortion increased to its highest point since records began in 1990.

"Although conception rates for women under 18 years have more than halved in the last decade, they remain twice as high in more deprived areas of England than less deprived areas.

"However, analysis shows that a smaller proportion of these conceptions lead to abortions for under-18s living in more deprived areas."

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