Around one in three sexually active women in Britain will have an abortion during their lifetime, and a third of those women will experience more than one. The characteristics of women who have presented for a second or subsequent abortion are compared to those who obtained only one.

Results indicate that increased age and parity are key characteristics distinguishing between women who have experienced only one abortion and those who have had more. Findings also reveal that those who have sought an abortion on more than one occasion are more likely to be Black, have left school at an earlier age, be living in rented accommodation, report an earlier age at first sexual experience, be less likely to have used a reliable method of contraception at sexual debut and report a more significant number of sexual partners.

The study concluded that it is well recognized that attending abortion services presents an essential opportunity to provide individually tailored information regarding contraception to help women avoid the need for subsequent procedures. Further research is required to clarify these potential relationships so that suitable health promotion activities can be developed.