Two-thirds of women who have abortions were using protection when they conceived, figures show.
Britain’s biggest abortion provider, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas), said that 66% of women who had terminated a pregnancy were using some form of contraception when they conceived.
Two-fifths of these were using the contraceptive pill, which boasts a 99% protection rate with “perfect use”, a spokeswoman said.
The charity said that reasons for failure include missed pills, stomach upsets or taking other medications.
Data from 150,000 women aged 15 and over who received care at a bpas clinic over the past three years showed that more than a third of women who had an abortion fell pregnant while using condoms.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of bpas, said: “Contraception fails and sometimes we fail to use it properly. In our experience women are trying hard to avoid unwanted pregnancy, or sometimes vastly underestimate their own fertility.
“An unintended pregnancy is often a happy accident - and a large proportion of births in this country are unplanned.
“But for many women an unplanned pregnancy causes considerable distress, coming at a time in their lives when they are not in the position to start or expand their family.
“Ultimately women cannot control their fertility through contraception alone, and need accessible abortion services as a back-up for when their contraception lets them down.”
Are you able to Speak out Safely?
Sign our petition to put pressure on your trust to support an open and transparent NHS