Girls as young as 12 regularly having abortions
, government figures show
More than 450 youngsters below the age of 14 ended unwanted pregnancies between 2005 and 2008 - including 23 girls aged just 12, the Department of Health statistics reveal.
Over the same period, 52 teenagers terminated four or more pregnancies before they reached their 18th birthday, helping the number of repeat abortions hit record levels.
Across all age groups, 64,715 repeat abortions were carried out last year. This is the biggest figure on record and includes 46 women who had terminated at least eight pregnancies.