Northern Ireland Termination of Pregnancy Statistics 2016-17

Date published: 24 January 2018

The Department of Health (DoH) today published statistics relating to medical abortions and terminations of pregnancy during 2016/17.

Termination of Pregnancy Statistics Image

The statistical bulletin presents information on the number of medical abortions and terminations of pregnancy during 2016/17.  It details information on the number of terminations of pregnancy by HSC Trust, by country of residence and by age band.

The information release is published online.

Key Points

  • there were 13 terminations of pregnancy in HSC hospitals in Northern Ireland during 2016/17.  This was three less than the previous year (Table 1).  It should be noted that due to small numbers, relatively large fluctuations may be expected from year to year
  • of the 13 terminations of pregnancy during 2016/17, all but one was carried out on women normally resident in Northern Ireland (Table 3)
  • during 2016/17 there were 7 terminations of pregnancy carried out on women aged 30 years and over, 1 termination of pregnancy carried out on a woman aged 25 to 29, and 5 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 4th Edition (2013) Reference Book is as follows:


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’.

3. 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

Tel:                  028 90 522914


5. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Press Office on 028 9052 0575 or email For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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