Scotland abortion number second-highest on record, figures show

The number of abortions in Scotland last year was the second-highest on record, with women from deprived areas more likely to undergo the procedure than their more affluent counterparts, new figures have shown.

Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 2:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 6:13 pm

Last year, 13,815 terminations were conducted in Scotland according to Public Health Scotland figures released on Tuesday, most of which involved women aged between the ages of 20 and 24.

The only time since 1968 – when records were first kept – when the overall figure has been higher was in 2008 when 13,908 procedures were carried out.

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Last year, 13,815 terminations were conducted in Scotland, according to Public Health Scotland figures released on Tuesday, most of which involved women aged between 20 and 24 years old picture: PA

The figure for girls under the age of 16 was 103, less than a third of the peak seen in 2007 when 376 abortions were undertaken.

A total of 3,791 terminations were carried out in women aged between 20 and 24 years old, while 3,387 were recorded for the 25 to 29 age group.

The rate of abortion per 1,000 people in Scotland is also the highest on record since figures were first kept, at 13.4.

Women from the most deprived 20 per cent of areas in Scotland were more than twice as likely to have an abortion, the figures showed.

Those in SIMD 1 – the lowest category on the Scottish Index of Multiple Depravations – accounted for 4,246 terminations, compared to 1,758 in SIMD 5.

The vast majority of procedures (98.4 per cent) were done to protect the physical or mental health of the mother, while 1.5 per cent of cases would see the unborn child severely disabled if carried to term.

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