Scotland has the second highest percentage of teenage abortions in the world, new statistics show.
A study from researchers in the US revealed 24 per cent of all abortions in Scotland occurred in the under-20 age group.
Only Cuba had a higher proportion of teenage abortions, at 29 per cent of the total.
Report author Gilda Sedgh, of the Guttmacher Institute in New York, said: “We can only speculate that the levels of unprotected intercourse among adolescents are relatively high in Scotland”.
The study showed that 15 to 19 year-olds make up just 15 per cent of the total population of Scotland, and yet account for almost a quarter of all Scottish terminations.
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, argued high teenage abortion rates cannot be attributed to ignorance about contraception.
He said: “It is more a case of the contraceptive culture making girls and young women feel they have a right to have babies to order and that they are free to dispose of any that would interfere with their chosen lifestyle.
“The answer is not yet more sex education and contraceptive schemes, but a change in the culture.”
But the British Pregnancy Advisory Service sees high teenage abortion rates as not necessarily negative.
Spokeswoman Clare Murphy, said a young woman’s choice to end a pregnancy is “often a very positive marker of how they see their life going forward.”
She also said Scotland’s high abortion figures could be a result of the country having far more detailed statistical information than other countries.
Recently critics have panned a scheme in Scotland which hands out the morning-after pill to teenage girls without parents’ consent.