Tory MP attacks multiple abortions

Abortions are now at an “industrial level”, a Conservative MP has claimed.

Figures obtained by the Department of Health (DoH) show around 15,000 women had their third or more abortion in 2006, out of a total of 193,737 terminations.

Tory MP Mark Pritchard, who sits on the all-party Pro Life group in parliament, said the figures were “shocking and disturbing”.

Anti-abortion campaigners said the number of repeat abortions suggested women are using abortion as a means of contraception.

The Department of Health said it had allocated £26.8 million investment in 2008/09 to improve access to contraception, including a targeted campaign to highlight contraceptive choices.

A department spokesman said: “Women who have undergone abortion are at risk of future unintended pregnancies and represent an important group with unmet contraceptive needs.

“Future contraception should be discussed, and supplies offered, before a woman is discharged following abortion.”

The figures, obtained by Mr Pritchard in a written ministerial answer from public health minister Dawn Primarolo, show 54 women terminated their eighth or more pregnancy in 2006.

More than 17,000 terminations were sought by women under 18, with 1,341 having their second abortion. Abortion remains most common among the 18- to 24-year-old age group.

Anti-abortion MPs are increasingly attempting to shift abortion onto the political agenda, with several amendments planned for the upcoming human fertilisation and embryology bill.

Conservative leader David Cameron has already sounded his support for an amendment to reduce the time limit from 24 to 20 weeks.

The government has said it has no plans to change the law with the Commons science and technology committee finding little scientific grounds for a lower limit.

The campaign group Abortion Rights opposes any tightening of the law, arguing the UK already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws of any European country.