• According to the World Health Organisation, around 73 million induced abortions take place worldwide each year. 
  • Six out of ten (61%) unintended pregnancies, and three out of ten (29%) of all pregnancies end in induced abortion. 
  • The Department of Health reported that in 2021, there were 214,869 abortions in England and Wales, the highest since records began. 
  • In Great Britain, the majority (98%) of abortions are carried out under Ground C”, with the vast majority (99.9%) of abortions carried out under Ground C alone reported as being performed because of a risk to the woman’s mental health. 
  • This means that 98% of abortions involve physically healthy women aborting physically healthy babies as almost all abortions are performed for undefined mental health reasons. In reality this is abortion on request.
  • Ground E” abortions are those performed because of fetal abnormality at any gestation up to birth. There were 3,370 abortions performed under Ground E in 2021.
  • 87% were chemical abortions (pills rather than surgery).
  • 43% of abortions in 2021 were for women with at least one previous abortion.
  • 82% of abortions in 2021 were for women whose marital status was given as single.
  • 74% of parents who found out they were having a baby with Down’s syndrome decided to abort their baby
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100,000 lives matter: laws save lives

When we launched in 2017, there had been 50 years of a different abortion laws between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. England Wales and Scotland had introduced more liberal laws in 1967. Northern Ireland had not and we wanted to see if this resulted in any meaningful differences.

We compared abortion rates, taking into account a whole range of factors, including the numbers of women who travelled to Great Britain from Northern Ireland for abortions. We were able to estimate that more than 100,000 people were alive in Northern Ireland specifically because the 1967 Abortion Act or similar legislation was not introduced. That’s 100,000 people, known and loved because of laws around abortion which protected both women and unborn children as far as humanly possible.

We thought this figure was good news, so we produced and launched a report and some billboards in January 2017 to tell everyone about it. A small number of people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), questioning our figures and methodology. The ASA’s role is to ensure that the public is not misled regarding advertising, so they investigated our claim and the methodology used in the report. This involved a detailed assessment of all the evidence by an independent health care statistician. Their finding was that there was a reasonable probability” that 100,000 individuals are alive who would not be if Northern Ireland had introduced the 1967 Act.

Although that law was removed by Westminster in 2019, these 100,000 lives still stand as a marker, reminding us that laws matter.

A framework for monitoring, recording and reporting abortion rates in Northern Ireland has not yet been established. Based on Freedom of Information Requests, we know that as of 23 May 2023, 5,648 abortions have been performed in Northern Ireland. That figure continues to rise.**

*See ASA ruling on both lives matter,” advertising standards agency, published 2 August 2017.

** See more: percuity.blog/2023/11/…