LANCASHIRE faith leaders have expressed concern at the current level of abortions in the UK.

In a statement marking the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, Catholic bishops in Britain, including the Bishop of Salford John Arnold, said that when it became law ‘few envisaged’ the current ‘alarming level’ of abortions.

In 2016, there were 190,406 abortions carried out in England and Wales compared to 23,641 in 1968.

In 2016 537 terminations were carried out Blackburn with Darwen in and in the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups’s five boroughs (Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale) 1,291 took place. Of those 27 and 72 involved women under 18.

This compares to figures respectively of 516 and 1,231 abortions in 2010.

Abdul Hamid Qureshi, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques said: “These figures are concerning. Taking steps before conception is a preferable option.”

The Bishop's statement said: “Every abortion is a tragedy and few consider that abortion is the desirable or best solution to a pregnancy, which may be challenging on account of many different factors.”