Northern Ireland Hospital Based Termination of Pregnancy Statistics, 2021/22

Date published: 19 January 2023

The Department of Health (DoH) today published statistics relating to medical abortions and terminations of pregnancy in Northern Ireland HSC Hospitals during 2021/22.

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The statistical bulletin presents information on the number of medical abortions and terminations of pregnancy carried out in HSC Hospitals in Northern Ireland during 2021/22.

The information release is published online.

Key Points

  • There were 53 terminations of pregnancy in HSC hospitals in Northern Ireland during 2021/22.  This was 10 less than the previous year (Table 1). However this is still an increase from 2019/20 and 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 2021/22.
  • All of the 53 terminations of pregnancy during 2021/22 were carried out on women normally resident in Northern Ireland (Table 3).
  • During 2021/22 there were 36 terminations of pregnancy carried out on women aged 30 years and over, 13 terminations of pregnancy carried out on women aged 25 to 29, and 4 on women aged 24 and under (Table 4).

Notes to editors: 

  1. The source of this information is the HSC Trusts in Northern Ireland.
  1. The structure of the terminology used within the UK National Clinical Coding Standards ICD-10 4th 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 1 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.


  1. 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           Email:
    Internet:    Termination of pregnancy | Department of Health (

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