Why Abortions Might Be On The Rise In The UK

Illustration by Anna Sudit
Experts have warned that women in the UK could have "more unplanned pregnancies and more abortions" as government funding cuts make contraception less accessible. A report by the Advisory Group on Contraception (AGC) found that around 3.9 million women of reproductive age live in areas of the country "with some form of restriction on access to contraception, either due to age or place of residency." One in seven councils who responded to the AGC said they closed sites other than GP surgeries which offered contraceptive care in 2015-16, or are planning to do so in 2016-17. Nearly the same number again said they were considering closing contraceptive care sites in 2016/17. Meanwhile, the BBC reports that a separate survey of 1,023 GPs by the Family Planning Association (FPA) found that only 2% offer the full range of contraceptive methods. More than half of these GPs said there is not time in a typical contraceptive appointment to give women all the information they need. Teenage pregnancy is down 30% in England since 2011, but this trend could be reversed if funding cuts continue, experts have suggested. Natika Halil, the FPA's chief executive and also an AGC member, told the BBC: "It's a false economy to restrict women's access to contraception. Every £1 spent on contraception saves £11 in averted health costs. "Making it harder for women to choose the right contraception for them will mean more unplanned pregnancies and more abortions. Councils need adequate funding to deliver the comprehensive contraceptive services women need and deserve."

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