Havering is seventh London borough for under-16 abortions despite fall

Abortions among under-16s have fallen to a record low but Havering remains the seventh London boroug

Abortions among under-16s have fallen to a record low but Havering remains the seventh London borough with the highest number of teenage abortions - Credit: PA WIRE

Abortion rates among girls under 16 are falling in Havering, but remain the seventh highest of the London boroughs.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show there were 17 abortions for every 1,000 girls under 16 in 2013.

It is a decrease from 2012 and 2011.

Croydon and Barking and Dagenham had 25 and 24 abortions per 1,000 girls under 16.

In 2013, the conception rate among under 18s in Havering was 26.2 per 1,000 – nearly half the peak of 40 pregnancies in 2008.

The figures are much higher than neighbouring Redbridge where there was an average of 16.9 pregnancies per 1,000 girls under 18 in 2013.

Havering Council’s cabinet member for adult social services and health, Cllr Wendy Brice-Thompson, said the authority’s focus on sexual health had resulted in the significant fall in conception rates.

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“The council has maintained its investment in a range of preventative services and programmes designed to ensure that young people have access to appropriate sexual health and contraception services,” she said.

Those measures include free contraception distribution in colleges, children’s centres and a number of local pharmacies.

A spokeswoman from Havering Clinical Commissioning Group said abortion services were being provided on the basis of demand, without distinguishing between age groups.

She said the need for the service has been consistent over the past few years.

Genevieve Edwards, director of policy at Marie Stopes UK, said teenage pregnancies were at their lowest level since 1969, when records began.

She welcomed the associated fall in conception rates among under 18-year-olds.

She said: “It’s important that any young woman who falls pregnant is treated not with judgment but with support to understand all the options available to her, including abortion.

“If anyone is worried about unplanned pregnancy, they can call us in complete confidence, 24 hours a day, for information and support.”

Go to mariestopes.org.uk for more information.