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Volume 100: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the answer of 11 March, Official Report, column 140, relating to the number of abortions, to what factors he attributes the trend shown by the relevant figures.

Since my earlier reply to my hon. Friend the relevant figures for the final two quarters of 1985 have been published. The completed table is as follows:

Legal abortions to resident women aged under 16, England and Wales
Number and rates per 1,000 women 1984 to 1985
NumberRate per 1,000 women*NumberRate per 1,000 women*
* The rates (per 1,000 women) for the under 16 age group are based on the population of women aged 14–15. The denominator is the mid 1984 estimated resident population figure.
† Includes late notifications, 53 in 1984 and 102 in 1985, not assigned to any quarter.
The slight fall in the rate of abortions in 1985 compared with 1984 is insufficient on its own to indicate a trend.