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Research project: Abortion

Currently Active: 

Induced abortion has long been the source of considerable heated debate, controversy, and activism. Worldwide current laws pertaining to abortion are diverse with religious, moral, societal and cultural opinions influencing their existence or absence.

The following are related projects in this area

Modelling the variation in abortion ratios among young women in the UK

At the national policy level, abortion is currently relatively ignored. Whist the previous Government established the active Teenage Pregnancy Unit the key targets involved a reduction in conception rates and its work encouraged improving education and services, as well as improving support for young mothers. The issue of abortion, possibly due to political and cultural sensitivities, was not explicitly covered in the 30 Action Points that drove the strategy.

This study aimed 

  • to explore, through appropriate statistical analyses, the ways in which spatial, demographic, and socio-economic factors are associated with abortion ratios among under 18 year old women; 
  • to explore the statistical relation between aspects of service provision and abortion ratios; 
  • to explore perceived and actual barriers to access to abortion services and opportunities for change; 
  • to investigate and identify the various contextual factors that impinge upon young people's 'decisions' regarding motherhood and abortion; 
  • to integrate the different data sources to account for variations in abortion ratios in the UK.

Funding - Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Improving knowledge regarding abortions performed on Irish women in the UK

The aim of this study was to provide detailed statistics on women who travel from Ireland to Great Britain for an abortion. This was done by using data on abortion notifications held by the Department of Health in London, plus data available from internal databases of major independent abortion providers.

This study provided a historical analysis of abortion data relating to residents of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales with respect to overall rates, age, gestation, provider, place of termination and marital status. The analysis aimed to identify how abortion patterns may vary across these countries and if and how they have changed over time.

Funding – Crisis Pregnancy Agency

Why do women present late for abortions

The focus of this study was abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy (13 weeks and over) in England and Wales. Although second trimester abortions constitute a relatively small proportion of the total number of legal abortions performed in these countries, they attract quite substantial public attention. Despite such attention, however, very little research designed to explore why women undergo termination procedures in the second trimester has hitherto been carried out. For this reason, whilst there has been a great deal of public discussion about the ‘ethical' issues related to late abortions, this has been conducted within a context of little understanding of the factors which explain why they happen, and almost none about the challenges that late abortions present for abortion services.

Funding - Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Evaluation of early medical abortion (EMA) in non-traditional settings

This project assessed the safety, effectiveness and acceptability of early medical abortions (EMAs) in non-traditional settings, and to help establish a protocol to cover the elements and processes required for a safe EMA service in non-traditional settings.

Funding - Department of Health

Factors affecting abortion decisions among young couples in Nepal

The aim of this study was to explore, using both survey data and case studies, factors that are associated with abortion decisions among young couples in the context of recently legalized abortion in Nepal.

Funding - Department of International Development

Related research groups

Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology (CCCAHP)


Book Chapter


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