LONDON, August 27, 2004 ( – Statistics revealed today by British government sources show that abortion reached a record level in England and Wales in 2003, rising 3.2% since 2002 to reach the all-time high of 17.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.  The abortion count reached 181,600 during 2003 in England and Wales – not counting the many abortions caused by the morning-after pill. Though the highest abortion rate is in the age bracket of 20-24 years old, there was a large number of teenage abortions: a total of 37,043 among girls of 15 to 19 higher than the 36,018 recorded for the 25 to 29 age bracket.  The British government is disappointed. Its Sexual Health and HIV strategy, as well as the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, designed to reduce unplanned pregnancies, are apparently backfiring.  A Department of Health statement shrugged off the disappointing results, laying the full blame on contraceptives: “no contraception method is 100% effective and there will always be women seeking an abortion as they are legally entitled to do.” Earlier this month, the British government announced guidelines which allow girls under 16 to have abortions without parental consent or notification.  Commenting on the government’s dubious stance, Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: “The government’s strategy on abortion among teenagers is proving to be a disaster for young people and for the babies who are aborted. Promoting morning-after pills also encourages risky sexual behaviour and appears to be fuelling the explosion in sexually transmitted infections among young people.”  Read related LifeSite coverage of abortion, promiscuity and sexually transmitted disease among UK teens:   jmo