A new report published by the British Department of Health has indicated that a record number of women in England and Wales are opting to abort one of their babies when they discover that they are pregnant with twins or triplets.
The statistics released on Tuesday revealed that 141 women have made the decision to undergo "selective reduction" abortions in 2016, a near-100 percent increase in just five years.
The Catholic Herald reported that 92 of the 141 cases involved aborting one twin. Thirty-three involved abortion one triplet and 11 involved abortion two triplets. Additionally, there had been five cases of quadruplets where at least one of the babies was aborted.
The report noted that the women who underwent "selective reduction" abortions are likely married, over 30, and less likely to have had a previous termination.
The figures suggested that many of these abortions may be due to IVF treatment that results in "more than one embryo being implanted in the womb."
"In such cases, the outcome of the pregnancy may be more successful if the number of fetuses is reduced. This reduction usually occurs at about 12 weeks' gestation," the report stated.
The report also indicated that the total number of abortions in England and Wales was slightly reduced from 185,824 in 2015 to 185,596 in 2016.
There was also a reduction in abortion rate among teenagers, falling from 2.0 to 1.7 per 1,000 women for those under 16 and a drop from 9.9 to 8.9 per 1,000 for women under 18.
The number of abortions performed on non-residents in England and Wales also dropped to 4,810, its lowest number since 1969.
The figures also showed that the number of women who traveled from Ireland to obtain abortions in England has fallen from 3,451 in 2015 to 3,265 in 2016. The numbers represented a continual decline since 2001 when there were 6,673 Irish abortions.
However, the abortions of unborn babies with disabilities have increased in 2016. As many as 706 babies with Down's syndrome were aborted that year, and nine were aborted because of cleft lip or palate.
"The abortion rate in this country is a national tragedy. While this may be profitable for the abortion industry, each one of those abortions represents a personal crisis for a woman and the loss of her child," said Anne Scanlan, director of education at the charity Life.
She noted that a May 2017 ComRes poll has shown that women in the UK want greater restrictions on abortion.
"The results found that 70 per cent of women want the current time limit on abortion to be lowered and 91 per cent of women want a ban on sex-selective abortion," she said.