Scotland

Abortions in Scotland fall for first time in six years

pregnancy tester kit
Image caption NHS Scotland has revealed statistics on the termination of pregnancies

The number of abortions carried out in Scotland has fallen for the first time in six years, NHS statistics show.

In 2008 the number of terminations reached an all-time high, at 13,817.

But that fell to 13,005 in 2009, according to new figures.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said it was encouraging to see a decrease in the number of abortions for all age groups for the first time in six years.

The number of terminations had risen each year in Scotland since 2002, when 11,870 were carried out.

Young women aged between 16 to 19 had the highest rate of terminations last year, at 22.3 per 1,000.

A total of 344 abortions were carried out on girls aged under 16, the figures also show.

Tayside topped the league for rates of terminations at 15.9 per 1,000.

In the most deprived parts of Scotland the abortion rate was 16.5 per 1,000, almost double the rate of 8.8 per 1,000 in the most affluent areas.

Service improvement

More than a quarter of women having an abortion in Scotland have had a previous termination, the report showed.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie said there was still a clear link between deprivation and abortion rates.

He said: "Sexual education must focus on young people in our most disadvantaged areas.

"Young women should know that abortion is not an alternative to contraception."

Ms Robison said the Scottish government was working with parents, schools and the NHS to provide education around relationships and sexual health.

She added: "We have also raised awareness of the contraceptive choices available which suit individual's lifestyles, such as longer-lasting contraception.

"Services for sexual health in Scotland have also increased in number and improved in quality, in all areas of Scotland, over the past few years."

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