By Daniel Martin, Mailonline
The father of the Abortion Act has spoken out to warn of the growing ‘problem’ of women having repeat terminations as an alternative to contraception.
Lord Steel, who introduced the 1967 Bill which legalised the practice, said it was ‘thoroughly undesirable’ that 36 per cent of terminations are now to those who have already had at least one abortion.
In a dramatic intervention, he said it was ‘never the purpose’ of his historic reform that tens of thousands of women would use abortion as a ‘form of contraception’.
The indication that the former Liberal leader, who brought forward his Bill when he was a young backbencher, now believes his legislation has gone too far seems set to reignite the debate over abortion.
Latest figures show that in 2011, there were 189,931 abortions, of which no fewer than 68,105 were on women who had already had a foetus terminated – a proportion of 36 per cent.
This compares to 64,303 repeat terminations the year before – a proportion of 34 per cent. Repeat abortions cost the cash-strapped NHS almost £1million every single week.
Lord Steel made his comments in the Lords last week during a question-and-answer session on abortion with health minister Earl Howe.