Terminations shock

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WIGAN has an above-average number of under-age girls having an abortion, new research has shown.

Ashton, Leigh and Wigan Primary Care Trust (ALW PCT) carried out 93 abortions on girls below the age of 16 between 2009 and 2011, compared to a North West average of 69, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Only six Trusts across the North West had a higher number of abortions sought by under-16s than Wigan.

However, in every other age group Wigan’s figures are below the regional average, with the PCT carrying out a total of 846 abortions last year, compared to the regional average of 1,033.

The ONS research showed there were 87 abortions carried out on girls aged 16-18, and 106 in the 18 to 19-year-old age group.

The figures follow recent research showing that teenage pregnancies across the borough more than halved last year, despite more youngsters than ever before accessing services at Wigan’s sexual health centre.

In addition, the latest ONS figures show 281 women aged 20 to 24, 182 aged 25 to 29, 87 between 30 and 34, and 103 over 35 had an abortion in Wigan in 2011.

Manchester had the highest number of abortions in the North West, while Blackburn with Darwen recorded the lowest figures.

There were 181,438 legal abortions carried out in England last year, and 24,784 in the North West.

Abortions carried out by the NHS must take place within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy and two doctors must agree the abortion would cause less damage to a woman’s health than continuing with the pregnancy.

Around 73 per cent of abortions are carried out within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.