Student blog post: Abortion rates ‘fairly constant’

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This headline was taken from the online version of BBC news and was published on May 2016. It highlights how abortion rates within England and Wales have stayed ‘fairly constant’ with only 185,824 abortions in 2015. One of the issues with this headline is the lack of definition of the word ‘fairly’ which is quite an ambiguous word. Moreover, reading further into the article it is revealed that the abortion rate has actually been fluctuating as there is an increase of 0.7% on rates for 2014, but it is still 0.3% lower than those recorded for 2005.

Within the article there were no links to the report where the data was used from however; one can find the data on the Official National statistics (ONS) on abortion rates in England and Wales. It shows that in 2015 the total number of abortions “remains at 185,824, 0.7% higher than in 2014 (184,571) and 0.3% less than in 2005 (186,416)”. The credibility of the data remains intact as ONS is a reputable source of data. The calculation for the percentage rise is correct as the difference between the 2014 figure and 2015 figure is 1,253 which when divided by 184, 571 then multiplied by 100 equals 0.7%, when rounded up. The same method reveals that the 0.3% decrease is also correct.

When reviewing this article, although the data is correct the title is not suitable for the findings as the word ‘fairly’ is a subjective term. A better headline would reveal that

“Although the abortion rate has risen by 0.7% since last year, it is not the highest it has been since 2005

References

BBC News. (2016). Abortion rates ‘fairly constant’ – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36312132 [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].

ONS (2016). Report on abortion statistics in England and Wales for 2015 – GOV.UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/report-on-abortion-statistics-in-england-and-wales-for-2015 [Accessed 10 Apr. 2017].

 

 

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