A woman who had an abortion because she couldn’t have another child is one of a growing number of parents seeking abortions due to financial pressures.
Leela*, a mother working in the financial industry, told Independent The staggering cost of childcare was one of the main drivers behind her decision to end her pregnancy in April 2021.
“If it wasn’t about the money, we would have,” said the 39-year-old, who lives in Reading. “It took me a long time to recover from it. I think it was not my decision, I think it was forced.
She explained that she felt guilt for her unborn child and for her son, over the fact that he was likely to be an only child, adding that she “wondered whether he was missing out” by not being a sibilant. .
Exclusive data provided by Pregnant Then Screwed found 87 percent of parents using childcare say the cost is keeping them from having more children. While last year the organization found that six in 10 women who had an abortion said the cost of childcare in the UK had put them off pregnancy.
Meanwhile, the UK’s leading abortion provider has reported a record high in terminations as parents struggle with the “spiraling” cost of living crisis.
Exclusive figures from MSI Reproductive Choice UK, which has more than 60 clinics across England, showed a 31 per cent increase in terminations this February compared to February 2022 – from 5,772 to 7,562. Compared to last year, there was an increase of 31 per cent in March and 28 per cent in April.
The provider said the number of terminations has been “steadily rising” through 2020 but saw an “unprecedented” increase this year.
Leela said that the “extortionate” nursery fees were a major factor behind her decision. Her son’s nursery fees for three days a week are £970 a month, despite her and her partner having a combined income of over £80,000 a year.
“It was physically impossible economically [to have another child], This would have been £1,950 a month on childcare. This is more than my partner’s one month’s earning. Expensive childcare is making inroads into gender equality,” she explained.
another woman sylvia anna told Independent Childcare costs were “70 percent” of her decision to terminate an unplanned pregnancy in May 2021.
The 30-year-old said: “I’ve always wanted to have children. I was crying when I went through the miscarriage – more from emotional pain.
“At the time, I was earning £40,000 a year. I couldn’t afford a studio for myself and a child.
“There is a lot of pressure for the childcare system to change and be more affordable, but no one is listening. No one cares. To be honest, every day I think about abortion.”
Research by Pregnant Then Scrud found that nearly one in five women said the cost of childcare was the main reason they decided to end a pregnancy.
Campaigner Lauren Fabianski warned it was a “growing issue”, adding: “Many of these women choose to have abortions, they want pregnancies.
“Some of these stories are particularly heartbreaking. We’ve heard from nurses, teachers and principals, people who believe they are on a fairly decent income and should be able to afford these fairly basic things. But for some of them, it will be the difference between using a food bank or not.
She said paying for childcare for a second child would push her “below the poverty line”.
It comes as the latest government data, released last summer, showed there were to be 214,869 abortions in England and Wales in 2021 – the highest number since the 1967 Abortion Act but the highest number of legal terminations across the UK. Not in Northern Ireland.
Women living in the most deprived parts of England are twice as likely to have an abortion than those in wealthier areas, according to figures published by the Department of Health and Social Care.
Louise McCudden of MSI Reproductive Choices said while there was “rarely a single reason” driving someone’s decision to have an abortion, its staff “are certainly hearing more and more stories where financial pressures play a big role”. “.
“Those most affected by the cost of living crisis are not only concerned about the cost of pregnancy or parenthood; They may be more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy in the first place.
Ms McCudden said “unacceptably long wait times for contraception” and a rise in domestic abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic were also behind the rise in abortions.
Claire Murphy, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), another leading abortion provider, said: “Most women who end up having an abortion are already mothers, and our clients tell us they would rather not have another child in their family. Can bring When they are already struggling to provide for their existing children.
Ava*, a 35-year-old mother who lives just outside Portsmouth, had a miscarriage in February.
Ava, who works in defense consulting, noted that she and her partner have a combined salary of around £90,000 and a mortgage on their home. But caring for two children cost them around £1,500 a month – something they could not afford.
“I feel disappointed,” she said. “I’m disappointed. My everything is ruined. I’m so angry. That’s my last chance. That decision has been taken away from me through no fault of my own. I’m crying so much.
Ava, whose child is four, said she thinks about abortion on a “daily basis” and said it was the “most difficult decision” she has ever made in her life.
“I was in bits,” she recalled of the miscarriage. “I was absolutely broken. My child deserves a brother. We have progressed in many ways so far but we expect women to produce children but we do not support women to produce children.
*Lila and Ava’s names have been changed to protect their identities