Staff Reporter

THE number of abortions performed on the Balearics increased by 12.6 percent in 2006 in comparison with the year before, according to the Institute for Family Policy Association.

The total number of abortions throughout Spain last year was in excess of 97'000, of which 2'761 were carried out in the Balearics.
There were 2'487 on Majorca, while on Ibiza there were 173 and 101 on Minorca, according to figures published by the Public Health department of the Balearic Ministry for Health and Consumer Affairs.

Of the 2'761 women who had abortions in 2006, 1'545 of them were Spanish and the rest foreigners. This figure is greater than that of 2005 when 2'451 women had abortions on the islands.

It must also be taken into account that some 44 percent of the women who had abortions in the Balearics last year were foreigners.
The majority of these foreigners were from Latin American countries (57 percent), followed by European Union countries (16 percent) and other European countries (14 percent).

By countries, the most abortions were carried out on women from Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia, Rumania (the main European country) and Morocco (Africa).

The majority of abortions carried out on the islands took place in private centres (95.7 percent), and 99.7 percent of the women were living in the Balearics, while the rest were from other Spanish regions.

By areas, Palma accounted for half the abortions in 2006, with 1'477, followed by Calvia with 134, and Ibiza with 110.
With regard to Palma the health centres where most abortions took place were Escola Graduada, Casa del Mar, Arquitecto Bennassar and Camp Redo.
According to estimates by the Institute for Family Policy Association (IPF), made using figures recorded on the islands and in Valencia, abortions rose by 12.6 percent in the Balearics, and also by eight percent in Valencia.

There were 97'143 abortions carried out in 2006 throughout the whole of Spain, in comparison with 91'644 recorded the year before or, put another way, “an abortion every 5.4 minutes” according to the IPF.

According to official figures from the European Union, Spain is the European country where the number of abortions has increased most during the last decade (approximately 75 percent between 1994 and 2004), followed by Belgium with 50 percent and Holland with 45 percent.

The Balearics continue to lead the field for the number of abortions, 12.5 for every 1'000 inhabitants, as they did in 2005 when the number of abortions was again 12.5 per 1'000 (higher than 2004 when it was 12.38 per 1'000).

Experts say that the number of abortions has risen due to insufficient sex education, especially among young people, and because of the minimal effect of campaigns for safe sex on this age group.

Abortion is legal in Spain if one of the three requirements is met: if the pregnancy is the result of a rape; if the foetus has a congenital disease; or if continuing with the pregnancy would be a risk to the mother's physical or psychological health. If the mother is under 18 years old she has to be accompanied by one of her legal guardians.