Northern Ireland Hospital Based Termination of Pregnancy Statistics, 2020/21

Date published: 20 January 2022

The Department of Health (DoH) today published statistics relating to medical abortions and terminations of pregnancy in Northern Ireland HSC Hospitals during 2020/21

doh latest statistics

The statistical bulletin presents information on the number of medical abortions and terminations of pregnancy carried out in HSC Hospitals in Northern Ireland during 2020/21.

The information release is published online.

Key Points

  • There were 63 terminations of pregnancy in HSC hospitals in Northern Ireland during 2020/21.  This was 41 more than the previous year (Table 1). This increase could be the result of changes in legislation passed in March 2021.  However, this number only relates to procedures carried out on hospital inpatients and day cases and is not representative of all Terminations of Pregnancy notified to the Chief Medical Officer during 2020/21.
  • All of the 63 terminations of pregnancy during 2020/21 were carried out on women normally resident in Northern Ireland (Table 3).
  • During 2020/21 there were 41 terminations of pregnancy carried out on women aged 30 years and over, 12 terminations of pregnancy carried out on a women aged 25 to 29, and 10 on women aged 24 and under (Table 4).

Notes to editors: 

  1. The source of this information is the HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland.
  2. The structure of the terminology used within the UK National Clinical Coding Standards ICD-10 4 Edition (2013) Reference Book is as follows:
  • Abortion: The term abortion means the expulsion or extraction of all (complete) or any part (incomplete) of the placenta or membranes (products of conception) without an identifiable foetus or without a liveborn infant, or stillborn, before the 24th completed week of gestation.  This covers a range of codes within the ICD-10 structure and includes ‘missed miscarriages’ (the retention of a dead foetus before 24 completed weeks of gestation, with no signs of abortion), spontaneous abortions (known miscarriages) and terminations of pregnancy.
  • Medical Abortion: The term medical abortion within the confines of the use of the ICD-10 code O04 – Medical Abortion equates to the interruption of a live pregnancy for legally acceptable, medically approved conditions.  It also includes re-admission with retained products of conception following a previous termination of pregnancy only. 
  • Termination of Pregnancy: This is defined as any patient who has a live pregnancy terminated for Northern Ireland legally acceptable, medically approved conditions.  This is a subset of the term ‘medical abortion’.
  1. Following a public consultation carried out by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, the UK National Clinical Coding Standards were revised for 2013.  As a result, the definition of ‘medical abortion’ has been significantly altered.  The revised definition (provided in point 2) has been applied throughout the UK from 1st April 2013.  The change in definition of medical abortion has resulted in a break in the time series of medical abortions; consequently, figures from 2013/14 onwards are not comparable to figures for before then.  There has been no change to the definition of a termination of pregnancy.

4. Further information on Northern Ireland Terminations of Pregnancy is available from:
Hospital Information Branch
Department of Health
Annexe 2, Castle Buildings
Stormont, BT4 3SQ
Tel: 028 90 528452

5. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email:

6. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

Share this page

Back to top