2016 Abortion Statistics: Key Facts

What you need to know about abortion in 2016.

Total Numbers

  • 190,406 abortions carried out in England and Wales in 2016.
  • Of that number, 185,596 abortions were performed on English & Welsh residents. This is 0.1% less than in 2015 (185,824).


  • The abortion rate was highest for women at the age of 22.
  • There was a 18% drop in abortions performed on girls under the age of 16, but 1,564 girls under the age of consent still had an abortion last year.


  • 3,208 abortions were performed in 2016 on the basis of Ground E (disability).
  • That represents a 0.2% drop in Ground E abortions since 2015.
  • However, there has been a 39% in abortions for disability over the last 5 years.
  • 9 babies with cleft lip & palate were aborted in 2016.
  • 706 babies with Down’s syndrome were aborted in 2016. 2.5% increase on the previous year.

Selective Reduction

  • There were 141 ‘selective reductions’ (women with twins or triplets who choose to ‘reduce’ the number of fetuses). This is a 18.5% increase from 2015 figures.

Repeat Abortions

  • 38% of abortions were repeat abortions.
  • For women over the age of 25 who had an abortion last year, nearly half (46%) had had an abortion previously.

Methods of Abortions

  • Medical abortions accounted for 62% of the total. An increase from 2015 (55%).


  • 98% of abortions were paid for by the NHS.
  • Of these, over two thirds (68%) took place in private abortion clinics under NHS contract (the same percentage as last year).

To see the Department of Health’s Executive Summary and to be able to download the raw data tables, click here.

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