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New figures shed light on abortions

PUBLISHED: 10:47 20 June 2008 | UPDATED: 11:16 03 July 2010

The number of abortions - including ones carried out on young girls - has hit a record high, official figures showed yesterday.

Procedures, on women living in England and Wales, have increased across all age groups since records began, the Department of Health confirmed.

The number of abortions - including ones carried out on young girls - has hit a record high, official figures showed yesterday.

Procedures, on women living in England and Wales, have increased across all age groups since records began, the Department of Health confirmed.

Yearly figures showed the number of abortions among girls under 14 rose 21pc, from 135 abortions in 2006 to 163 in 2007.

During the same period there was a 10pc rise among all girls aged under 16, from 3,990 abortions in 2006 to 4,376 in 2007. Across all age groups, there was a 2.5pc increase, from 193,700 in 2006 to 198,500 in 2007.

In Norfolk the year-on-year abortion figures stayed largely the same, although there were some increases and decreases in different categories.

In the NHS Norfolk area there were 1,743 abortions in 2007, compared to 1,732 in 2006.

In the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Primary Care Trust (PCT) area there were 510 abortions in 2007 compared to 552 the year before.

Both areas saw a decrease in the rate of abortions per 1,000 women, with NHS Norfolk's overall rate for women aged between 15 to 44 going from 14 in 2006 to 13 in 2007, and the Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT's rate falling from 17 to 15.

Within the NHS Norfolk area the abortion rate decreased between 2006 and 2007 in the under-18s, 20 to 24-year-olds, and 25 to 29-year-olds, although there had been an increase in the 18 to 19-year-olds, 30 to 34-year-olds, and over 35s.

Dr John Battersby, director of public health at NHS Norfolk, said: “We are happy to see that our rates are on the decrease overall and very happy to note that there has been a decrease in the rates among the under 18s specifically.

“This shows that, along with our Norfolk County Council partners, we are making some inroads through our Teenage Pregnancy Partnership Board in getting messages out there to teens about safe and responsible sexual attitudes and activity.”

In the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area the abortion rate rose between 2006 and 2007 in under-18s and 18 to 19-year-olds but fell in the 20 to 24-year-olds, 25 to 29-year-olds, 30 to 34-year-olds and over-35s groups.

Dr Alistair Lipp, director of public health at Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT, said: “We are working hard to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies. We have increased the family planning service to six days a week, including evenings in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. We're also increasing the use of long-lasting contraceptives, using the voluntary sector to engage with young people and are involved in sex education in schools.”

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