UK Abortion Statistics

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UK law requires that reliable abortion statistics are collected and published annually.

The Abortion Act 1967, as amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, permits termination of a pregnancy by a registered medical practitioner subject to certain conditions. Legal requirements apply to the certification and notification of abortion procedures. The doctor taking responsibility for the procedure is legally required to notify the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the abortion within 14 days of the termination, whether carried out in the NHS or an approved independent sector place and whether or not the woman is a UK resident. The Department of Health provides form HSA4 for this purpose, which can be submitted either online or by paper.

In England, and Wales, the statistics are published by the Department of Health and the Office of National Statistics. As this publication is a National Statistic, it is subject to the statutory requirement that National Statistics should be produced in accordance with the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. The UK Statistics Authority assesses all National Statistics for compliance with the Code of Practice. ¹ In Scotland, the same provisions under the 1967 Act apply, but the Information Services Division (ISD) is responsible for the administration and reporting of these notifications of abortions on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer in Scotland.²

Official UK Abortion Statistics

Relevant blog posts

1. The results of the assessment of abortion statistics were published in February 2012 and are available at https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/archive/assessment/assessment/assessment-reports/report-176—statistics-on-abortion.pdf

This section is taken from The Department of Health, “Abortion Statistics, England and Wales: 2013: Summary information from the abortion notification forms returned to the Chief Medical Officers of England and Wales”, June 2014,  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/319460/Abortion_Statistics__England_and_Wales_2013.pdf 

2. http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Sexual-Health/Abortions/ 

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