The number of repeat abortions in the UK is increasing according to statistics from the Department for Health. The Times reports that Marie Stopes International is very concerned that opportunities are being missed to give women contraception rather than an abortion.
Marie Stopes International is the biggest provider of abortions in the UK, however they say they do try to discourage women from multiple terminations. The 2012 statistics show 37 percent of women who had an abortion had previously undertaken the procedure. These are the most recently published statistics.
That compares with 34 percent in 2010, and 31 percent 2001. Marie Stopes carried out interviews amongst their repeat abortion patients and claimed that 57 percent were using contraception. However the pill has a failure rate of 9 percent, whereas condoms have a failure rate of 18 percent.
The group believes that more should be done to encourage women to use more effective forms of contraception such as intra-uterine devices and implants.
Genevieve Edwards, the director of policy at Marie Stopes UK, said: “If we tackled the lack of sex and relationships education in schools, invested in contraceptive training for health professionals and bridged the gap between abortion, contraception and sexual health services, we would see the rate of unwanted pregnancies plummet,”
“Our research shows that there is no particular demographic group who are more likely to have abortions. It can happen to any of us. But for the majority of women, it was more often the short-term methods [of contraception] that failed them.
“Getting this right is also good for the public purse. Fitting a coil costs about £40 and lasts ten years — that is less than 8 pence a week and it repays the NHS many times over in abortion or maternity costs.”
However Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: “Increasing the provision of contraception isn’t going to reduce the abortion rate. Contraception doesn’t address the social, financial and relationship reasons which are usually the drivers for women to seek abortions.
“We need to answer those problems, and then we’ll see the abortion rate coming down.”
The statistics also show that abortion has gone down overall in England and Wales but the figure still stands at 185,000 a year.