A record number of women had abortions in England and Wales last year, with a particular increase seen among women aged 30 and over.
There were 209,917 abortions reported in 2020, up from 207,384 in 2019. The biggest rise in abortion rates were among women aged 30 to 34, increasing from 16.5 per 1,000 in 2010 to 21.9 in 2020.
At-home medical abortions – also known as DIY abortions – were introduced during the Covid-19 lockdown. They are believed to have contributed to the increase.
However, the policy of allowing DIY abortions has been controversial, with several women experiencing complications from taking the pills at home.
Spokesperson for Right To Life UK Catherine Robinson said, ‘Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies.’
She added, ‘This is especially worrying given that the introduction of the home abortion scheme has put so many women at risk of complications, and has facilitated a number of illegal abortions past the legal term limit for “at home” abortions.
‘We are therefore calling on the UK and Welsh Governments to end these “DIY” home abortion schemes immediately.’
Meanwhile, the new First Minister of Northern Ireland has vowed to resist Westminster’s undemocratic attempts to force abortion on the province.
First Minister Paul Givan has said he will contest the attempt by politicians in London to make abortion regulations fully operational across Northern Ireland by 31 March 2022.
The decision to force abortion on Northern Ireland was taken in Westminster during a time when the Northern Ireland Assembly was not meeting.
Givan says he intends to ‘resist what the Secretary of State has done by way of a direction’ and is exploring all political and legal options available for him to do so.
And Northern Ireland’s largest Protestant denomination has also severely criticised Westminster for its undemocratic behaviour.
The Presbyterian Church of Ireland reiterated its ‘total opposition to the imposition by Westminster of the most liberal abortion laws in these islands’.
The church added that Westminster’s regulations are ‘against the express wishes of 80% of the more than 21,000 individuals and organisations who responded to the Northern Ireland Office’s own 2019 consultation on this matter’.
Recently, the High Court granted the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) permission to launch a judicial review against the Westminster government’s abortion override powers.