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24 May 2010

AR update, 25 May 2010

UK abortion statistics show small decline; new guidance published on advance provision of emergency contraception; Cochrane review on cervical preparation for first trimester surgical abortion; a comparison of transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasonography in Early Medical Abortion, and more...

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- 1. UK ABORTION STATISTICS SHOW SMALL DECLINE

The total number of abortions in England and Wales was 189,100 in 2009, compared with 195,296 in 2008, a fall of 3.2%. The age-standardised abortion rate was 17.5 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, compared with 18.2 in 2008.

In 2009, 91% of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks’ gestation; 75% were at under 10 weeks.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, said:

‘It’s interesting to see that fewer abortions took place last year, for the second year running. However abortion figures tend to fluctuate slightly year-on-year so we can’t call this a trend yet, especially with the background of the last few decades’ gradual rise in the numbers of abortions.

‘We’re really pleased that a greater proportion of abortions took place at the earliest stages in 2009. There has been a 2% rise in the number of abortions at under 10 weeks. This probably indicates that better NHS funding has helped to build in more of the capacity needed to care for women when they need it.

‘There’s also been a lot of work done to improve women’s access to the most modern contraceptive methods, but we still know that the pill and condoms, the UK’s most commonly used contraceptives, have relatively high failure rates in typical use. Sex is also not always planned or prepared for, so it’s essential that the contraception and abortion services and the choice of methods offered reflect individual women’s needs.

‘Unintended pregnancy and abortion will always be facts of life, because women want to make sure the time is right for them to take on the important role of becoming a parent. Abortion statistics are reflective of women’s very serious consideration regarding that significant role within their current situation.’

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ALSO NEW ON ABORTION REVIEW

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- 2. NEW GUIDANCE PUBLISHED ON ADVANCE PROVISION OF EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that pharmacies should offer the morning-after pill in advance, particularly for those under 25.

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- 3. CLINICAL UPDATE: HOME MANAGEMENT OF EARLY MEDICAL ABORTION

By Patricia Lohr, Medical Director, BPAS.

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Patricia Lohr’s Clinical Update column appears in the Summer 2010 print edition of Abortion Review. Download a .pdf of the print edition for free here.

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- 4. USA: OKLAHOMA PASSES RESTRICTIVE NEW LAW

The US state of Oklahoma requires women to undergo an ultrasound scan just an hour before having an abortion. 

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- 5. REACTIONS TO 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PILL

The Hollywood actress Raquel Welch has blamed the widespread use of oral contraceptives for a breakdown in sexual morality, while others celebrate the liberating effects of safe and effective contraception.

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- 6. UK: CONTROVERSY OVER MSI’S TELEVISION AD

An advertisement by an abortion advisory organisation has been screened for the first time on UK television, to opposition from anti-abortion campaigners.

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MEDICAL UPDATE

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- 7. WHO: CERVICAL PREPARATION FOR FIRST TRIMESTER SURGICAL ABORTION

This review set out to determine whether cervical preparation is necessary in the first trimester, and if so, which preparatory agent is preferred. From the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

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- 8. UK: A COMPARISON OF TRANSABDOMINAL AND TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASONOGRAPHY IN EARLY MEDICAL ABORTION

The authors sought to establish the accuracy of abdominal ultrasonography in determining gestational age and identifying the presence of a gestational sac and embryonic pole before and after medical abortion. From Contraception. 

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- 9. USA: RISK OF MISCARRIAGE WITH BIVALENT VACCINE AGAINST HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV) TYPES 16 AND 18

The authors concluded that there is no evidence overall for an association between HPV vaccination and risk of miscarriage. From the British Medical Journal.

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- 10. TAIWAN: SONOGRAPHIC QUANTIFICATION OF ENDOMETRIAL CHANGES AFTER ABORTION

The study set out to examine the diagnostic feasibility of sonographic gray scale histograms to assess changes in the endometrium following abortion induced by mifepristone and misoprostol. From Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 

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EVENT

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- 11. PREGNANCY AND PREGNANCY PLANNING IN THE NEW PARENTING CULTURE

This two day seminar in June, organised by Parenting Culture Studies and the Kent Centre for Law Gender and Sexuality at the University of Kent, UK, and supported by BPAS and the Economic and Social Research Council, will discuss the relationship between reproductive autonomy and a culture of ‘intensive parenting’.

Speakers include:

—KRISTIN LUKER, Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, University of California: ‘Abortion and the politics of motherhood revisited’

—RACHEL JONES, Senior Research Associate, Guttmacher Institute, New York: ‘Abortion decision making in a culture of “intensive motherhood“‘

—DANIELLE BASSETT, Charlotte Ellertson Social Science Postdoctoral Fellow, Ibis Reproductive Health, Cambridge, MA: ‘Pregnancy after abortion: women’s experiences of a stigmatised reproductive career’

Places are limited, so early booking is advised. For details, see here.

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For news updates from the UK, see here.

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For news updates from around the world, see here.

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For updates from the medical press, see here.

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