The majority of British women who have had abortions were using contraception

Both hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptive methods are failing women

Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

According to a new report, more than half of women who have had an abortion in the UK were actually using another method of contraception at the time that they fell pregnant.

The latest study from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service suggests that just shy of a quarter of women (24.1%) who had an abortion were using a hormonal contraception such as the pill or a long-acting reversible method like the implant, an IUD or the coil.

When combined with the number of women who were using non-hormonal contraception – such as condoms, diaphragms – it equates to 51.2% of women who have had an abortion that were using contraception when they fell pregnant.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service run abortion clinics throughout the UK, and the data suggests that these numbers account for over 14,000 women.

Although the pill is the most popular method of contraception, it is only 91% effective, and condoms come in at a surprisingly low 82% effective.

The BPAS also warns that pregnancies are likely to occur if a method, such as the implant or coil, is not inserted properly or happens to move about. Hormonal contraception can often disguise pregnancy symptoms, leading to later term abortions.

Although no method of contraception is 100% effective, the coil and the implant are more than 99% effective which could be why more and more women are opting for them.

The findings finally quash the idea that women who have abortions are careless about using contraception, with BPAS’ chief executive Ann Furedi saying: ‘When you encourage women to use contraception, you give them the sense that they can control their fertility – but if you do not provide safe abortion services when that contraception fails you are doing them a great disservice.

‘Our data shows women cannot control their fertility through contraception alone, even when they are using some of the most effective methods. Family planning is contraception and abortion.’

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