I have been following the attempt by Nadine Dorries MP to amend the Health and Social Care bill to prevent abortion providers giving advice to pregnant women (in England). My own personal view is that we can't have enough advice providers for pregnant women to cover family planning as well as terminations. Figures for Wales would suggest that there is not enough advice available especially to young women between 15 and 25.
Overall figures for England and Wales show a fall in the number of abortions between 2009 and 2010. In Wales the figure fell from 8841 to 8632 or 2.4%. The abortion rate in Wales was 15.2 per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 whilst the rate in England was 17.6.
There is a vast differences across Wales with Newport, Swansea, Torfaen, Merthyr and Ynys Mon showing a fall of between 10 and 14% in the number of women having abortions between 2009 and 2010. On the other hand, Monmouth, Blaenau Gwent and Ceredigion show an increase of between 10 and 20% in the numbers of women having abortions over the same time period. Similarly on the rate per 1000, Swansea, Merthyr and Newport have seen big falls.
The figures that caused me the most concern however are the % of women under 25 who have repeat abortions with the average for Wales being 20%,which means that in 2010, 929 women under 25 in Wales had a repeat abortion. Bridgend, Conwy, Denbighshire and Pembrokeshire all see significant increases (3 to 5%) in repeat abortions in the under 25's, whilst Powys and Swansea show a decrease of 9 and 3% respectively in the same time period.
The number of abortions in Wrecsam remains similar between 2009 and 2010 at 437 with 22% or 50 repeat abortions in women under 25.
One can only speculate on the number of repeat abortions there would be should we in Wales be crazy enough to follow Nadine Dorries's amendment to reduce the availability of advice on terminations.
There is most certainly a lot of work that needs to be done to explain the variations and to see if there is best practise and lessons to be learnt from Newport, Swansea and Merthyr.