There is no evidence that women are opting to use abortion as a form of contraception. The vast majority of women requesting abortion have tried and failed to use contraception effectively. No 100% safe method of contraception is yet available, so for women who are sexually active and become pregnant, but do not want to have children at this point in their lives, abortion sometimes seems like the best option.
What the 2010 statistics show is a slight decrease in abortion numbers. It is hoped that this reflects a better use of contraceptive services and an increased use of more reliable contraceptive methods.
The statistics suggest that people in England and Wales continue to be sexually active regardless of their marital status or desire for children, and many see abortion as a useful last resort for those unable to contemplate pregnancy, childbirth and parenting at a particular moment in their lives.
More abortions than ever are taking place earlier in pregnancy with over 90% of abortions in 2010 taking place at under 13 weeks gestation compared to 87% in 2003.
78% of abortions took place at 9 weeks and under compared to 58% in 2003.
The NHS provided or paid for over 90% of all abortions in England and Wales compared to 80% in 2003.
37% of all abortions in 2010 were carried out using medical procedures (as opposed to surgical methods) compared to 17% in 2003.
Most people agree that it is preferable to prevent unwanted pregnancies effectively in the first place rather than be faced with the dilemma of whether or not to have an abortion. Several things could contribute to more effective contraceptive use:
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