A record number of women aged 35 or over had abortions last year, with nearly 700 terminations carried out for women older than 44.
Figures from the Department for Health also showed that around a third of all abortions in England and Wales last year were repeat procedures, with over 1,000 women having a fourth termination.
The abortion rate for women aged 35 and over went up from 6.8 per 1,000 women in 2005 to 7.8 in 2015, while the total number of terminations for all age groups rose to 191,014, a 0.7 per cent compared to 2014.
Just over half of all women who had abortions already had children, and nearly three quarters had a partner or were married.
The new figures come amid ongoing controversy in the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) who officially backed a campaign to decriminalise all forms of abortion up to childbirth.
The decision led a backlash among the RCM’s membership, with many midwives expressing their horror and claiming they had not been consulted by their leadership.
Around 200 signed a letter stating: “For the organisation that represents us to support the radical position that all protections for unborn children should be removed right through to birth, and without any consultation of us members, we find utterly unacceptable.”
Peter D. Williams of campaign group Right To Life expressed his concern at the latest statistics: “Today’s abortion stats highlight the dark reality of abortion in the UK, and the necessity of humanising of attitudes towards the unborn child and ridding society of the unjust discrimination that abortion enables.”
Referring to the RCM’s recent decision, he added: “All this should raise in our minds what the consequences would be of following the advice of the abortion industry, such as Cathy Warwick the BPAS Chair of Trustees and also RCM Chief Executive, by removing abortion from the law altogether.”
“Contrary to the abortion lobby’s extreme agenda, and with the consistent witness of public opinion, we need to move towards greater not lesser recognition and protection of the dignity and rights of unborn children.”