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MSI Comment on Abortion Statistics for England and Wales: January to June 2022

Press releases  •  22 June 2023  • 4 min read

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Media statement

London, 22nd June 2023

If you are covering today’s new abortion statistics for England and Wales, you may find the following statement and summary from leading abortion provider MSI Reproductive Choices helpful.

New abortion statistics for England and Wales released today from the Department of Health and Social Care show that in the first six months of 2022:

  • Between January and June 2022, there were 123,219 abortions performed on residents of England and Wales. This compares with 105,488 over the same period in 2021 – an increase of 17%.
  • The majority of abortions took place in the early stages of pregnancy: 67% up to and including 7 weeks gestation; 93% up to and including 12 weeks, and 98% up to and including 17 weeks gestation.
  • From January to June 2022, medical abortions accounted for 86% of abortions. This compares with 87% of abortions over the same period in 2021, and 87% of abortions over the full 2021 calendar year.
  • The majority (97%) of medical abortions in the first 6 months of 2022 were performed at under 10 weeks, similar to the proportion in the first 6 months of 2021 (97%). This compares with 89% in 2021 and 78% in 2011. 
  • There has been a continuing upward trend in medical abortions since 1991, when mifepristone was first licensed for use in the UK. Early medical abortion at home has accounted for over 50% of terminations each quarter since April to June 2021 abortions.

“People choose abortion for a range of reasons and the record number of abortions in the first six months of last year can be attributed to multiple factors. These range from lack of access to contraceptive services, which has left many people facing unacceptable waiting times, to the cost-of-living crisis, which inevitably means fewer people feel comfortable starting or expanding their family. 

“These pressures are unrelenting, so it’s unsurprising that demand has continued increasing into 2023. At MSI, we have witnessed a 30% year-on-year increase in the number of people seeking abortion care over the first five months of this year.

“Despite this rising demand, it is reassuring that the data today shows that people continue to be able to access care early in their pregnancy. Telemedicine remains an important option, particularly benefiting those who struggle to attend face-to-face appointments, including those in abusive relationships, those with caring responsibilities, and those without transport. MSI data shows an equal split between those choosing in-person medical appointments and telemedicine, highlighting how important it is to offer options that take into account personal circumstances.

“With calls for abortion law reform across the UK increasing, these statistics demonstrate that abortion is essential healthcare and should be given a legal framework which recognises this. One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime in the UK. MSI believes abortion should be decriminalised to ensure that no-one is deterred from seeking essential NHS services or is afraid to be open and honest with their healthcare provider.”

– Ends –

The full statistics are online here: Abortion statistics for England and Wales: January to June 2022

MSI data and information is below:

  • MSI UK has seen a 30% year on year increase in demand for abortion over the first five months in 2023.
  • Over the last two years, MSI UK has recruited an additional 50 nurses and midwives in response to the additional demand. It has also recruited an additional 50 people at its award-winning contact centre over the last year.
  • MSI UK has added 500 additional surgical appointments during the first five months of 2023 in response to rising demand.
  • In 2022, MSI UK carried out a record 8,000 vasectomies demonstrating how many men want to share responsibility for contraception.
  • MSI UK has introduced online booking and webchat functions to give people more choice over how they communicate with us and make it easier and quicker to book an appointment.

For further information, please email press@mischoices.org or call +44 (0) 7769 166 516.


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