Scottish abortions reach record high

The Scottish Government has described news of a rise in the number of abortions performed as “disappointing”.

Between 2007 and 2008 the number of abortions performed had risen by 79 to 13,817, an all-time high. Over 3,000 were carried out on teenagers, 343 on girls aged below 16.

Around a third were repeat abortions – terminations carried out on women who had already been through the procedure at least once before. This figure had risen from 3,617 to 3,770 between 2007 and 2008.

There is concern that increases in repeat terminations reflect a growing tendency for abortion to be regarded as a form of emergency contraception.

Despite a consistent rise in abortion figures over recent years, ministers in Scotland have pledged to plough on with a strategy based on providing education and information on sex and sexual health.

Scottish Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: “It is disappointing that there has been a rise in the number of abortions carried out in Scotland.

“Education has a key role to play, which is why we are working with parents, schools and NHS Health Scotland to provide additional support and information around relationships and sexual health.

“As part of this, we’re developing a marketing campaign, supported by a national website, for the adult population which will focus on encouraging people to talk to their partner about their sexual health.”

Dr Patricia Lohr, of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a leading abortion provider, said: “Women remain concerned to make sure the time is right for them to take on the important role of becoming a parent. Abortion figures reflect women’s recognition of the significance of this. We also know that contraceptive methods in typical use have relatively high failure rates.

“Furthermore we know that sex is not always planned or prepared for. It’s important that services reflect the reality of women’s lives and make sure contraception and abortion services are as flexible and accessible as possible.”

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