Abortions For The Sex And The City Generation

An analysis of recent abortion statistics from the UK indicates that in the 2000s, the abortion rate among women in their forties rose by 30 percent. Cue references to the fab four! No, really.

The Telegraph says these women are "dubbed The Sex And The City generation," though it is unclear who is doing the dubbing aside from the Telegraph. More clear: The risk factors leading to the higher abortion rate among older women, including these women "taking chances" with contraception, presumably out of a belief that they're no longer fertile, and to a limited extent, pre-natal screening for fetal abnormality. "In total, 8,179 women aged 40 and over terminated pregnancies last year – including more than 650 women above the age of 45, and 21 women aged 50 and over," per The Telegraph, citing statistics from bpas, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

Testing positive in fetal abnormality screenings accounted for some of the abortions among older women, who are at greater risk for it, but since most abortions took place before 12 weeks, when the screenings can first happen, it wasn't the decisive factor: "Among women aged 35 and over [there aren't figures for 40+ on this], just 2,200 abortions occurred after that point."

Interestingly, the average age of first child in the UK (nearly 30) is higher than both France (28.5) and the U.S. (25).

A separate review of the statistics yields a few other interesting tidbits: There's a move in the UK towards earlier abortions, which carry less risk of complication and are less expensive for the National Health Service: "Over three-quarters (76%) of NHS-funded abortions now take place at under 10 weeks' gestation, compared to 74% in 2009 and half (51%) in 2002." That's attributed in part to the introduction of medication abortion in addition to surgical abortion. Also, the UK's rate of teen pregnancy is at its lowest since the early 1980s. "Half of conceptions to girls under 18 now end in legal abortion," per the statistics.

Then there is this note of calm observation: "When one considers that, in England and Wales, there are an estimated 2 million acts of heterosexual coitus in women per day, it is striking that only one in 1000 acts of sex result in an abortion." Indeed.

Abortion Soars Among Women In 40s [Telegraph]
England And Wales: Abortion Statistics 2010 [Abortion Review]