The 13-to-15 abortion rate was 4.4 per thousand girls in that age group, and the under-18 rate was 19.8 per thousand.
The key to explaining the rising trend is found in documents like Recommended Standards for Sexual Health Services, drawn up by a coalition of pro-abortion advocates and abortion providers and endorsed by the government in 2005.
The figures reflect the Department of Health's (DH) policy of performing an abortion as quickly as possible on any woman enquiring. The policy includes arm-twisting doctors who are reluctant to refer for abortion. Many GPs would refuse to refer women for abortions on medical grounds, or for religious or conscientious reasons. The DH brooks none of these objections, but insists that every woman who enquires about abortion is immediately referred for abortion.
It is a conveyor-belt, one-size-fits-all, approach. There is no counselling routinely offered, and the DH has targets for rushing women through the abortion mill against the clock. Health trusts which miss the target and don't kill enough babies quickly enough are liable to be penalised.
Abortion is more than a social malaise. It is a grave abuse of human rights. It harms women and kills children.