Health written question – answered on 2nd July 2014.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what research his Department has (a) undertaken and (b) evaluated since May 2010 on the number of women who died following complications from a legal abortion; when his Department last undertook an evidence review of the number of women who died following complications from a legal abortion that drew on (i) UK and (ii) international research; and if he will make a statement;

(2) how many women are known to have died within one month of operations for termination of pregnancy notified under the Abortion Regulations 1991 in each year since 1984; what cause of death was recorded on the death certificate in each case; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The most comprehensive information about a death following an abortion is published in the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (CEMD) (previously known as the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health).

Maternal deaths associated with termination of pregnancy; United Kingdom 1985-2008
Triennium1 Number of deaths from termination of pregnancy
2006-08 20
2003-05 1
2000-02 5
1997-99 2
1994-96 1
1991-93 5
1988-90 3
1985-87 1
1 Data are collected for each three-year period. 2 The report also reviews the deaths of two women who died from sepsis following termination of pregnancy and one death associated with cocaine misuse interacting with anaesthesia.

Cause of death recorded on death certificates for women who died following an abortion is not reviewed by the Department. The Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme which now oversees CEMD is funded by the Department and other organisations. CEMD takes account of all relevant United Kingdom and international research in its work. Data for 2009-12 are due to be published in December this year and annual updates will be produced in the future.

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