A Quarter Of Women Who Have An Abortion End Up Having Another One

A quarter of women who have an abortion go on to have another one, new figures show. And 57 per cent of young women who have an abortion were using contraception when they conceived. The majority of these women were using short-term methods of contraception, such as the Pill or condoms. The figures, from reproductive health charity Marie Stopes UK, also revealed that only 12 per cent of women have used emergency contraception and that the older a woman is, the more likely she is to have had more than one abortion. They also showed that a month after having an abortion 86 per cent of women are using contraception, but 67 per cent use their chosen method of contraception for less than a year. Reasons for stopping include menstrual irregularities and not renewing supply in time to take the Pill. After having an abortion, 63 per cent of the women surveyed were given long-acting reversible contraception – compared to 30 per cent of young women in England as a whole – and they were more likely to choose these methods of contraception if they had had more than one abortion or if they had had a surgical abortion. The researchers analysed five years of Marie Stopes UK’s patient data, surveying 430 women - 121 of whom had previously had an abortion – and all of whom were between the ages of 16 and 24. Although the total number of abortions in England and Wales has gradually declined in recent years, the number of women seeking abortion who had one or more previous abortions is increasing. Genevieve Edwards, Director of Policy at Marie Stopes UK, said: ‘Women have three fertile decades to manage, but too many women are being let down by a lack of on-going support in choosing and using the most effective method of contraception. ‘If we tackled the lack of sex and relationship education in schools, invested in contraceptive training for health professionals and bridged the gap between abortion, contraception and sexual health services, we’d see the rates of unwanted pregnancies plummet.’ The researchers say that with typical use, nine in 100 women become pregnant each year while taking the pill and that condoms have a failure rate of 18 per cent. This failure rate means that of the people who say condoms are their chosen method of contraception, 18 per cent will actually not be protected from pregnancy each time they have sex. This can be because they do not actually use a condom, because they do not use it properly, or because it breaks. In contrast, there is a less than one per cent failure rate for long-acting methods of contraception, such as implants and coils.