A record number of abortions took place in England and Wales in 2019, according to official figures published Thursday.
The government reported June 11 that a total of 209,519 abortions took place last year, more than in any other year since the practice was legalized by the Abortion Act 1967.
A pro-life group described the record figure -- an increase of 4,224 from 2018 -- as “a national tragedy.”
Antonia Tully, director of campaigns at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: “We are looking at a national tragedy here. This appalling figure shows us that abortion is becoming more and more normalized.”
“Propaganda telling women that abortion is ‘simple and safe,’ coupled with easier access to abortion pills, is driving up abortion numbers.”
The Department of Health and Social Care recorded an increase in the abortion rate for all ages 25 and above in 2019. The biggest increase was among women aged 30-34, with the figure rising from 15.7 per 1000 in 2009 to 20.9 per 1000 in 2019.
In 2019, 40% of women undergoing the procedure had previously had one or more abortions, a figure that has risen steadily from 34% in 2009.
Last year there were 52,235 at-home medical abortions -- equating to 36% of all early medical abortions -- and 3,183 abortions because of suspected disability.
There were also 126 “selective terminations,” where doctors abort an unborn child carried by a mother expecting multiple babies. This was an increase from 111 in 2018.
The statistics showed that 1,014 women from Northern Ireland traveled to the U.K. to undergo an abortion, while the number of women traveling from the Republic of Ireland to England and Wales for abortions fell from 2,879 in 2018 to 375 in 2019.
The charity Life said it was “extremely alarmed” by the figures.
Liz Parsons, Life’s director of advocacy, said: “I am shocked but sadly not surprised that for the second year in a row we have seen a substantial increase in the number of abortions taking place.”
“There can be no doubt this significant increase is due, in part, to the repeated rhetoric of the abortion industry describing terminations as ‘necessary healthcare’ and offering ‘faster and easier’ access to abortion. Worryingly, we are now seeing two out of five abortions taking place for women who had already experienced at least one previously.”
She continued: “At Life, we represent thousands of women who want to explore alternative options to abortion and we are seeing increasing numbers of women coming to us for help and support during an unplanned pregnancy or if they are suffering the negative effects of abortions.”
“At a unique time in our history when we are focusing all our energy on saving lives, we must never forget that abortion results in the loss of a life and last year nearly 210,000 unborn babies lost their lives to abortion.”
“With our society raising life up with one hand and taking it away with the other, it is high time that we re-evaluate our priorities and start putting more energy into offering life affirming positive alternatives.”