Abortion rate for under 18s halves in 5 years

Girl's boots-2

The rate of abortion for women under 18 has halved in the past five years. Figures from the Department of Health for 2009 to 2014 show that termination rates are down for all age groups except 18-19 year olds.

In 2014, 13 women in every 1,000 under 18 underwent an abortion. That is down from 26 in 1,000 in 2009. The reduction is less steep in other age groups, but rates for over 35s have nearly halved too.

The highest rate of abortion is for women 20-24, which has fallen back slightly to 37 per 1000. The rate for the 18-19 age group increased to 32 per 1000 women compared to 23 in 2009.

Abortion age groups

In total, 46,718 legal abortions were carried out in the city in 2014. The under 18s make up 1,784 of that number. The largest group by number is the 25-29 year-olds with 11,507 abortions.

Despite the reduction in rates for most age groups London still has the highest rate of abortion in England with an average of 21.8 per 1000 women compared to 16.6 for the whole country. The rate varies across London. Only 4 boroughs are below the national average – Wandsworth, Kingston, Camden and Richmond, which has the lowest rate.

Abortion map

Barking and Dagenham, in the east of the city, has a rate of 31.2 women per 1,000, nearly twice the national average. The rate is also high in neighbouring Newham and in Waltham Forest.

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See also

London teen pregnancy rate lowest but more end in abortion

Fewer babies born last year but birth rates vary across city

Thousands of women and girls with FGM living across London

Thousands of women and girls with FGM living across London

Adjura had FGM reversal surgery before the birth of her daughter Dfid-Jesiica Lea Wikimedia commons-1

Adjura had FGM reversal surgery before her daughter’s birth. Photo: Jessica Lea/Dfid

As many as 87,000 women and girls living in London may have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). They range from young children to women over 50 and make up 60% of all women with FGM in the UK.

The borough of Southwark is believed to have the highest number of females affected with an estimated 6,900. Brent has 6,024 and there are nearly 5,000 in both Lambeth and Newham.

The data comes from a study by City University and the human rights organisation Equality Now. They found that there are women and girls with FGM in all local authorities across the country but the 10 boroughs with the highest rates were all in London.


Outside London there is a high incidence in parts of Manchester, Birmingham, Slough, Bristol and Leicester.

Female genital mutilation involves the removal of all or part of the external female genitalia. In many African countries it is traditional practice carried out to control female sexuality and is often linked to the marriageability of girls and family “honour”.

See also

Schools data reveals ethnic mix with fall in proportion of white British pupils

London is more diverse than the UN or Fifa

Fewer babies born last year but birth rates vary across city

Women undergoing FGM suffer severe pain and the procedure can cause shock, haemorrhage, and fatal infections.  Longer term, women suffer can suffer chronic pain.

The study used survey data gathered by Unicef and USAID on the prevalence of FGM in 28 African countries plus Iraq and Yemen. In some countries, particularly in the horn of Africa, such as Somalia, FGM is near universally carried out.

Researchers applied this prevalence data to information from the 2011 census on the females born in these countries living in the UK.

Professor Alison Macfarlane of City University said: “These estimates have limitations as they assume that the women who have migrated are typical of women in their country as a whole which may well not be the case. They are needed as it is difficult to collect data directly about the numbers of women affected.”

The study was funded by the Home Office and the charity The London Trust. The purpose of the study is provide information for professionals to plan support service for women with FGM and safeguard those at risk.

The study also looked at the number of daughters born to women with FGM as these girls may be at particular risk. Researchers estimate that between 2005-13 nearly 31,000 girls were born to mothers with FGM in London.

Female genital mutilation was made criminal offence in the UK in 2003 but to date there has been no successful prosecution.

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Women harder hit by unemployment

hWomen in London are more likely to be unemployed than they are in the rest of the UK.  With men it is the other way round with the rate slightly below the national average.  Data for the demographics of unemployment produced by the Office for National Statistics show 7.1% of women in the capital out of work compared to 6.1% for the national average.  That’s a 21% difference.

Unemployment gender

The latest demographic breakdown in London employment data for the year to September 2014 shows that people from ethnic minorities are more than twice as likely to be jobless as white people.

Unemployment ethnicity

The rate for young people aged 16-24 is nearly 3 times the London average at 19.8%. For disabled people it is more than twice the London average at 13%.

Unemployment is static in London according to the latest general figures that show 287,000 out of work in the 3 months to February this year.    That’s 6.2% and unchanged on the rate for the 3 months ending in January.

London unemployment remains higher than the national average of 5.6%. That has been the long term trend but the gap has closed over the past 3 years.

Unemployment London v England

London’s 6.2% jobless rate is in line with Wales, the West Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humberside.  It’s the second highest rate in the UK.  Only North East England has a higher rate at 7.7%.  The lowest rate is South East England at 4.2%.

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Breast cancer screening lag

Breast cancer scan copyBreast cancer screening rates for London remain below the national average in England for the fifth year in a row. Data analysis by Urbs shows that 68.9% of eligible women aged 53-70 were screened last year. But that’s 9% below the rate for England as a whole.

London has managed to close the gap over the past five years. In 2007-08 London lagged 16% behind the national average.

The data is collected at borough level and shows a clear division in the capital between the performance of inner and outer London. The four best performing boroughs of Havering, Bexley, Bromley, Harrow all beat the average rate for England. The nine worse performing boroughs were all inner city. Islington came bottom, 24% below national average, followed by Kensington and Chelsea, 22% lower.

Islington’s performance has dropped year-on-year by 15%. During the same period the number of eligible women fell by 2%. Lewisham, Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Kingston also saw a drop in their year-on-year figures but all saw some increase in the numbers of eligible women.

671,463 women in London were eligible for breast cancer screening in 2014. Women aged 50-70 are offered the service as they are seen as the highest risk group who can benefit most through screening.

During the process a radiographer creates a special kind of X-ray called a mammogram, where an image of the breast is created by passing very low dose x-rays through the breast tissue.

In a study in 2011 Cancer Research UK estimated that screening saves the lives of approximately 1,300 women each year.

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More information about breast cancer here.