Staggering abortion rate among UK's teenagers

Data released by a European research group has revealed how European countries compare with respect to teen abortion rates.

A previous study conducted by the group “REPROSTAT 2” analysed abortion rates among girls ages 13-19 in 25 European countries and the findings have placed the UK under fire.

The UK had the second highest teen abortion rates at a rate of 22.1 per cent, and it has also been reported that a quarter of all abortions in the UK are from teenagers, according to Mail Online.

Interestingly, Greece, which shares similar abortion laws to the UK, had the lowest teen abortion rates with a rate of only 4.1 per cent.

Despite the low teen abortion rates in Greece, research shows that overall abortion remains relatively high throughout the nation. Some argue that overall abortion rates in Greece can be attributed to the Greek Orthodox Religion, which critics say does not strongly condemn abortion.

Finland and Sweden share third place, with 19.9 per cent of local teens undergoing abortion procedures. Critics say this high rate is a reflection of the independent lifestyle that more women in both countries reportedly opt to have.

In a report, REPROSTAT 2 concluded that, "Teenage termination of pregnancy rates were higher in Northern European countries (17 per 1000 women aged 15–19 years) than elsewhere (10–11 /1000).

"These higher rates suggest a remaining unmet need for contraceptives among teenagers, even in countries with universal access to ... health services," the report added.

The study failed to explain why teen abortion rates are higher in some countries compared to others, although many critics have their own theories.

Trevor Stammers, a lecturer in medical ethics and former chairman of the Christian Medical Fellowship, slammed the UK for its high teen abortion rates.

He said that the privatisation of abortion surgery has become a large moneymaking industry, and suggested that some teens are often encouraged to opt for the controversial elective surgery to generate revenue.

"We could cut the number of abortions by a third just by allowing women to exercise free choice, rather than making abortion such an easy or trivial matter," Stammers said.

Belgium had the overall highest teen abortion rates, with a whopping 25.2 per cent.

In contrast, new research suggests that while teen abortion surgery is still a prevalent issue throughout Europe, rates have declined in recent years.

Below are the top five countries in terms of teen abortion rates, according to REPROSTAT. For an extensive list, see the study, page seven.

Belgium 25.2
UK 22.1
Finland 19.9
Sweden 19.9
Denmark 17.6