Concern over Suffolk abortion rate

MORE than 25 abortions a week were performed in Suffolk last year, according to new figures.

Craig Robinson

MORE than 25 abortions a week were performed in Suffolk last year, according to new figures.

The figures, released yesterday by the Department of Health, show there were 1,313 abortions performed in the Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) area in 2007 - including 137 involving girls under 18.

This compared to 1,291 terminations in the twelve months before, when 119 were on girls under 18.

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The Department of Health last night refused to give out the figures for abortions for girls under 14 in individual trusts, claiming it would breach confidentiality laws.

Campaigners believe the number of terminations in the county is still too high and that more needs to be done to educate young people about safer sex.

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Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: “The contraceptive culture has made people feel they have a right to have babies to order and to do away with any that would interfere with their chosen lifestyle.

“High abortion rates are the inevitable fruit of a society that has made an idol of sexual pleasure and failed to respect its proper place and purpose in the context of a lifelong marriage.

“Those who present abortion as a positive way of dealing with an unwanted pregnancy are being extremely naïve and short-sighted. Every abortion involves a personal tragedy for a mother and a child, which will have lasting consequences.”

John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, claimed: “It is a conveyor-belt, one-size-fits-all, approach. There is no counselling routinely offered, and the Department of Health has targets for rushing women through the abortion mill against the clock.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk PCT said contraceptive clinics were held in Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Trotman Court and 4YP in Ipswich, Mildenhall, Newmarket, Stowmarket, Sudbury and Thetford.

“We hold walk-in clinics which offer pregnancy tests, contraception and advice on delaying sex,” she said.

“The service is free and confidential and adheres to national guidelines on treating young people.

“We would encourage youngsters to come and make use of the service and get non-judgemental advice on how to avoid feeling pressured into having sex. We can also help those who do choose to have sex to make the right contraceptive choices to prevent pregnancy.

“We have a dynamic and proactive outreach team who go into schools and colleges, youth clubs and support hard-to-reach groups. The nurses' main aim is to reduce unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. School nurses are also available in all upper schools to offer advice and support.”

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