Are 2% of pregnancy terminations between 20 and 24 weeks?

CLAIM: About 2% of pregnancy terminations take place between 20 and 24 weeks.

CONCLUSION: ACCURATE. In 2018, 1.8% of all abortions in Great Britain took place at gestations of 20 weeks and over; 1.7% of all abortions in England and Wales took place at gestations of 20 to 24 weeks.

Are 2% of pregnancy terminations between 20 and 24 weeks?

On 12 November 2019, Naomi Long, leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, during a BBC programme stated: “About 2% of terminations take place in that period between 20 and 24 weeks.”

Number of abortions

According to figures from the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC), in 2018 there were 205,295 abortions carried out in England and Wales, and 13,286 abortions carried out in Scotland, totalling 218,581. (The 4,687 non-resident abortions in England and Wales, 22% (1,031) represent women who travelled from Northern Ireland.)

Number of abortions by gestation period

The DHSC policy is that women who are legally entitled to an abortion should have access to the procedure as soon as possible. The number of legal abortions by gestation (weeks) in Great Britain in 2018 are the following:

Gestation Abortions
3-9 weeks 175,246
10-12 weeks 23,730
13-19 weeks 15,642
20 weeks and over 3,962
Total 218,580

Source: Department of Health & Social Care, Table 13: Legal abortions: Countries of Great Britain

Abortions at gestation at 20 weeks and over (3,962) represents 1.8% of total abortions in Great Britain (218,580).

Specifically, in England and Wales the number of abortions in 2018 between 20 and 24 weeks was 3,399:

Gestation week Abortions
20 833
21 913
22 808
23 759
24 86
Total 3,399

In England and Wales, abortions at gestation at 20 to 24 weeks (3,399) represents 1.7% of total resident abortions in England and Wales (200,608).


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