Abortion number second highest on record, figures show

The statistics were released by Public Health Scotland on Tuesday.

Abortion number second highest on record, figures show PA Ready
Abortions: The statistics were released by Public Health Scotland on Tuesday.

The number of abortions in Scotland in 2020 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.

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.

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

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

A total of 3791 terminations were carried out in women aged between 20 and 24-years-old, while 3387 were recorded for the 25-29 age group.

The rate of abortion per 1000 people in Scotland is also the highest on record since they were first kept, at 13.4.

Women from the most deprived 20% 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 4246 terminations, compared to 1758 in SIMD 5.

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