Almost 18,000 abortions were carried out on girls aged under 18.
Government data have disclosed that 89 girls aged 17 or under who terminated a pregnancy last year had had at least two abortions previously. The head of Britain’s largest abortion provider said many young women were living chaotic lives that meant they could not organise contraception.
Christian doctors said the statistics demonstrated the failure of liberal sex education policies.
The Department of Health figures for 2009 show that, for the first time, more than a third (34 per cent) of abortions were performed on women who had already ended one or more pregnancies.
Across all ages, more than 1,000 women or girls were on at least their fifth termination, including 214 on their sixth, 70 on their seventh and 48 who underwent the procedure for at least the eighth time.
Ann Furedi, the chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said repeated pregnancies among teenage girls were often caused by chaotic lifestyles and difficulties they had in using contraception.
She said: “With teenage girls, often they feel able to handle sex, emotionally and physically, yet aren’t able to handle the planning that comes with contraception.”
Dr Peter Saunders, from the Christian Medical Fellowship, which represents Christian doctors, said that the figures were profoundly depressing. “It is increasingly clear that abortion is simply being used as a form of contraception by a growing percentage of girls and women, and that tired policies of values-free sex education, condoms and morning-after pills are not working,” he said.
The total number of abortions in England and Wales last year, 189,100, fell slightly on the previous year. Of those, 63,390 involved women who had previously ended a pregnancy, compared with 51,987 a decade ago — a rise of 22 per cent.
Almost 18,000 abortions were carried out on girls aged under 18, including more than 1,000 on girls aged 14 or under. The statistics follow controversy last month about Britain’s first television advertisement for abortion services.