The British Pregnancy Advisory Service found that 51.2 per cent of 60,592 women who went for abortions at its clinics had been using at least one form of contraception

More than half of women who seek abortions were using contraception at the time they conceived, an abortion provider has revealed.

Data collected by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) found that 51.2 per cent of 60,592 women who went for abortions at its clinics had been using at least one form of contraception. The charity said that about nine in 100 women using the Pill would become pregnant each year.

BPAS is using its evidence to make the case for late-term abortions, arguing that abortion is a necessary part of birth control. Ann Furedi, the chief executive, said: “When you encourage women to use contraception, you give them the sense that they can control their fertility – but if you do not provide safe abortion services when that contraception fails you are doing them a great disservice.”

Conservative MP Maria Caulfield criticised BPAS’s argument, saying: “When a foetus is viable after 20 weeks it cannot be right that they can be aborted so easily.” Mark Bhagwandin, spokesman for the charity Life, said the idea of abortion as contraception was “morally repugnant”.