The regularly published abortion statistics are insufficiently detailed to make it easy to assess the significance of increases or decreases in the annual number of abortions. Numbers of abortions are related only to a few broad age groups of the women at risk, the size of those age groups is not normally stated, and the age and marital status groupings employed differ from those used for comparable data about trends in child bearing. By matching demographic data on trends in pregnancies which are deliberately terminated (abortion) and those which are not (fertility), this note attempts a) to assess the true impact of abortion among women living in England and Wales during 1973-76, and b) to consider whether the annual volume of abortions may increase over the next decade and what such an increase might signify.
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