Analysis of routinely published abortion and fertility data for England and Wales between 1968 and 1980 shows that the age-specific abortion rates increased from 1968 until about 1973 when the rates peaked for all ages; rates then declined until 1977 but have subsequently returned to higher levels. Two factors are implicated: (1) the recent changes are related to parallel changes in the fertility rate; but (2) there is also a tendency for recent cohorts of women to resort to abortion more readily. These relationships are derived from analyses of fertility rates and abortion ratios, the proportion of conceptions that result in abortions. The results are discussed in terms of attitudes and practices related to birth control.
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