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Scottish abortion rates reach 11-year low

Abortion rates in Scotland have fallen to its lowest level in 11 years. Picture: Getty

Abortion rates in Scotland have fallen to its lowest level in 11 years. Picture: Getty

THE rate of abortions in Scotland fell to its lowest level for more than a decade last year.

A total of 11,777 terminations were carried out in 2013, representing a rate of 11.2 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, official health statistics show.

It is the lowest abortion rate since 2002, when the rate was 11.1, and continues the downward trend since 2008, when abortion rates peaked at 13.3. In 2012, the rate stood at 11.9.

The fall in rates between the peak of 2008 and 2013 has been greatest in younger women, with a reduction of 33.7% in those aged 16 to 19, closely followed by a 32.4% reduction in the under 16s.

Although there has been a recent marked reduction in abortions in younger women, the rate of terminations in 2013 is still highest in this group, at 16.3 per 1,000 women aged 16-19, and 19.1 per 1,000 aged 20-24.

The highest abortion rate was recorded in NHS Tayside at 12.9, closely followed by NHS Lothian and NHS Fife, both with a rate of 12.5.

The lowest rate was recorded by the island health boards - Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles - at 5.2 and the lowest mainland board was Highland at 8.8.

The figures show almost a third of the 11,777 women having an abortion in 2013 had a previous termination.

The proportion of women having had a previous termination varies across NHS boards, from 25% in NHS Lanarkshire to 34.3% in NHS Tayside.

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