General Article What the statistics tell us

Topic Selected: Abortion
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Where do abortion statistics come from?

Each year, the Department of Health (DH) collects statistics for abortions carried out in England and Wales. The statistics are taken from the abortion notification forms (HSA4), which all doctors are legally obliged to fill out. Official statistics have been gathered since 1968, when abortion was first legally available in England and Wales.
Abortion is not legal in Northern Ireland, except in very exceptional circumstances.
The DH statistics include all abortions that take place in England and Wales, and separates the figures on abortions to women resident in England and Wales.

What the statistics can tell us

The national abortion statistics provide a useful and accurate way of assessing how many legal abortions are carried out in England and Wales in any given year, and how these statistics have changed since 1968. They can also tell us the legal grounds under which abortions were carried out under the 1967 Abortion Act. However, numbers n...

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