The number of immigrants undergoing abortions in Rome is on the increase, according to new data released by the Lazio public health agency.

The number of abortions by foreigners living in the capital has risen by almost a third over the past five years, from 3,304 in 2000 to 4,785 in 2004.

In comparison, there has been an 8 per cent drop in the number of abortions undergone by Roman women over the same period although there were still 6,455 abortions in 2004.

There is also a difference between the age of Roman and foreign women having abortions, with immigrant women in the 18-34 age bracket while Roman women are typically over 35.