Dramatic rise in Scots teenage terminations

Teenage abortions in Scotland have risen by over a quarter in the last ten years, new figures show.

The teenage abortion total rose from 2,884 in 1997 to 3,725 in 2007 according to NHS statistics.

The number of abortions among under-16s rose by a third over the same period, with the 2007 total standing at 442.

The increases will fuel concerns that abortion is being regarded as a form of contraception by some teenagers.

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, said: “These increases are the symptoms of our failed sexual health strategy.

“How many years of disastrous figures do we need before the Scottish government changes tactics?”

He added:”There is absolutely no doubt that abortion has been placed in the contraception camp by many teenagers who do treat it as no big deal.”

The Scottish abortion figures show that more pregnant under-16s are having abortions than giving birth.

The Scottish Government hopes to reduce pregnancy rates to 6.8 per 1,000 under-16s by 2010. In 2007 it stood at 8.1, a fall of just 0.4 since 1995.

In England and Wales more than half of last year’s 40,000 pregnancies to girls aged 18 or under ended in an abortion.

The Westminster Government is expected to fall dramatically short of its 2010 target to reduce teenage pregnancies but has continued to defend its approach of handing out free contraception to young people.

In February the Government pledged to plough another £20.5 million into the provision of sex clinics, long-term contraceptive implants and advertising campaigns.

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