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Abortion Rates For Women Over 30 Are On The Rise

Photo: Rockie Nolan
New figures released by the Department of Health show that abortion rates in the UK are rising significantly among women in two particular demographics: Women aged over 30 and women who are married.

The statistics indicated a small increase in the overall number of abortions between 2014 and 2015, with just a 0.7% increase, and also found that the highest rate of abortions took place amongst women who were aged 21-22.

However, in comparing the number of women over 30 to have abortions in 2014-2015 to the year spanning 2004-2005, abortion rates for women aged 30 to 34 have experienced a change.

The report notes that: "Since 2005 the rates for women aged 30 to 34 have gone up from 14.5 per 1,000 women in 2005 to 17.1 in 2015, and rates for women aged 35 or over have gone up from 6.8 per 1,000 women in 2005 to 7.8 in 2015."

Interestingly, in 2015, 70% of women ending a pregnancy were described as being either married or in a relationship, compared with 48%, 10 years earlier, bucking the popular conception that abortions are more common among women single women.

To break that down simply: The number of abortions carried out in England and Wales in 2015 totalled 185,824. Of that figure, 9,358 abortions were carried out for married couples or people stated as in a civil partnership, while 96,564 were for women who were not married but identified as having a partner.

So what's changed? Well, the pay gap hasn't, with men likely to earn 24% more than women, according to a recent study conducted by recruitment company Robert Half. In the context of an average, full-time, annual salary package – even with financial support from a spouse – women might see pregnancy as a sacrifice to a weightier pay-cheque over the life span of a career.

In 2014, it was reported by the Mail Online that 45% of British women were forced to cut their maternity leave short in order to financially provide for their new families. Financial insecurities like these will no doubt play a major factor in women deciding whether to terminate a pregnancy or not.

Cuts to sexual health services may also play into the number of unexpected pregnancies, as Natika H Halil, chief executive of sexual health charity FPA, told The Huffington Post UK: “With the devastating public health budget cuts we have already seen, contraceptive services may become an easy target for restrictions – particularly for women who are in their 30s and 40s."

She continued: “Women have to control their fertility for around three decades and it’s vital that whether they are 20 or 40, they have access to a full range of contraceptive choices and are empowered to make decisions that are best for them.”