Abortion

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 25th May 2018.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many complications resulting from medical abortions were reported in the UK in 2017.

Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of the relative frequency of complications arising from medical as opposed to surgical abortions; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of women with complications following a (a) surgical and (b) medical abortion in each of the last five years.

Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many women were diagnosed with complications following a (a) surgical and (b) medical abortion in each of the last five years.

Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Data on how many complications resulting from medical abortions were reported in England and Wales in 2017 is not yet available. 2017 abortion data will be published on 7 June 2018.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ 2011 clinical guideline on the Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion highlights that abortion using both medical and surgical methods is a safe procedure for which major complications and mortality are rare at all gestations. The guideline notes that medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol is associated with a longer duration of bleeding, more pain and gastrointestinal adverse effects, and a higher likelihood of being incomplete than vacuum aspiration under general anaesthetic up to 14 weeks of gestation. A copy of the guideline can be viewed online at the following link:

https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/abortion-guideline_web_1.pdf

Information on the number of women diagnosed with complications following a surgical and medical abortion in each of the last five years for which data is published is set out in the following table.

Legal abortions - complications by procedure, residents of England and Wales, 2012-16

Year

Total all procedures

Surgical

Medical

2012

278

91

187

2013

235

83

152

2014

330

101

229

2015

294

85

209

2016

294

88

206

Note:

Data on complications is collected on HSA4 forms which provide a notification of each abortion.

Complications which arise after the form has been completed will not be included in the official statistics.

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