Repeat abortion rates continue to rise in Scotland

foetus The majority of terminations took place on foetuses of less than nine weeks

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The number of repeat abortions has continued to rise in Scotland, according to the latest statistics.

Early abortions and pregnancies terminated by medical rather than surgical methods are also on the rise.

However, the overall number of terminations fell with 12,447 in 2012, compared with 13,904 in 2008.

NHS Scotland's information services division said women aged 16-24 had the most abortions last year, with twice as many in poor areas than rich areas.

The report said that although there had been a recent marked reduction in abortions in younger women, the rate of terminations in 2012 was still highest in that group, at 17.8 per 1,000 aged 16-19 and 21.1 per 1,000 in those aged 20-24.

The proportion of early terminations has been rising steadily in recent years, with 69.8% of all terminations performed at less than nine weeks in 2012, compared to 62.2% in 2009.

In 2012 the rate of abortions continued to show a clear link with the level of deprivation. In areas of high deprivation the rate is 16.1 per 1,000, nearly double the rate of 8.6 per 1,000 for the least deprived areas of Scotland.

Almost one third (30.7%) of the 12,447 women who had a termination in 2012 had had a previous termination.

The vast majority (11,761 or 94.5%) of terminations were carried out on the grounds that continuing pregnancy would risk "injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman".

There were 159 terminations due to substantial risk of physical or mental abnormalities in the child, of which 30 were for Down's Syndrome, 15 for anencephaly, 13 for musculoskeletal conditions and 12 for other chromosomal conditions.

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