Shock over teenagers given eight abortions

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Abortions were given to three teenage girls in England and Wales who had previously had at least seven pregnancies terminated, figures have revealed.

Campaigners said young women were being “let down in an appalling way” after it emerged three of the 38,269 teenagers who had a termination in 2010 had undergone the procedure at least seven times.

NHS figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act show another two teenage girls had their seventh abortion in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, while four more teenagers had a termination for the sixth time.

Fourteen girls had their fifth abortion in 2010, 57 teens had a termination for the fourth time and 485 women aged 19 or under went through the procedure for a third time.

The figures were released ahead of NHS abortion statistics for 2011, which will be published next week.

Rebecca Mallinson, of the Pro Life Alliance, said: “There is something seriously wrong with a country where teenagers are having even one abortion, let alone repeat abortions to this extent.

“We are failing these young people in an appalling way, and storing up serious sexual health problems for the future.”

Of the abortions carried out on teenage girls in 2010, more than 5,300 were on teenagers who had already had at least one termination. Out of the 189,574 abortions carried out in 2010 for women of all ages, more than 64,300 terminations were for women who had already had the operation in the past.

Some 85 of those women had undergone at least seven previous terminations, including 30 women who were aged under 30.

The total number of abortions for women of all ages rose slightly to 189,574 in 2010, up 0.3 per cent on 2009. There had been a decline for all age groups in 2009 but, despite the fall in operations for teenagers in 2010, the number of terminations rose in women aged 20 plus.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Having an abortion can be a very difficult and traumatic experience so we are very concerned about the number of women having multiple abortions.

“It is very important that every woman who has an abortion is offered counselling and given good advice and supplies of contraception.”