400% abortion rise in Western Trust last year - highest in NI

An anti-abortion rally in 2008.
An anti-abortion rally in 2008.

The number of abortions performed in the Western Trust rose by 400 per cent last year - the largest increase in Northern Ireland, it’s been revealed.

There were eight terminations of pregnancy in the Western Trust during 2012/13, an increase of six on the 2011/12 year (two).

The number of abortions performed last year was the highest of the last seven years at least, new health department data show.

And of all 51 abortions performed across Northern Ireland just one was carried out outside Northern Ireland.

Trend data over the seven year period between 2006/07 and 2012/13, indicate that figures fluctuate within most Trusts across the years.

Of the 51 terminations of pregnancy carried out in 2012/13, over a third (17) were in the South Eastern Trust.

There were 50 terminations of pregnancy carried out in 2012/13 to women normally resident in Northern Ireland.

During 2012/13 there were 26 terminations of pregnancy carried out on women aged 30 years and over, 11 terminations of pregnancy carried out on women aged 25 to 29, and 14 on women aged 24 and under.

The figures released refer to the ‘termination’ of live pregnancies in legally acceptable, medically approved conditions.

‘Termination’ is a subset of the term ‘medical abortion,’ which can also refer to “re-admissions with retained products of conception following a previous termination of pregnancy, missed miscarriage or a spontaneous abortion that had been treated in the first admission with an evacuation of the products of conception;” and to “a patient who had a termination of pregnancy and had retained products of conception in the same episode that required surgical treatment.”

There were 75 medical abortions in Northern Ireland in 2012/13.

Last year following an audit of abortion statistics, Mr Poots declared that: “The Department has accepted that those people requesting statistical information on the number of abortions in Northern Ireland, should in future be provided with the subset of data for ‘termination of pregnancy.’”

The Health Minister added: “The Department is, of course, content to provide figures on both ‘medical abortion’ and ‘termination of pregnancy’ in the future, in accordance with the definitions, as appropriate.“