Scotland Sees Abortions Drop After Rise Over Several Years

International   Steven Ertelt   May 31, 2011   |   12:22PM    Glasgow, Scotland

A new report from the health department in Scotland shows abortions are down after rising for a period of several years from 2002-2008. Last year 12,826 abortions were done on women and unborn children in Scotland, compared with 13,108 in 2009.

The drop is good news and a departure from the high of 13,902 abortions in 2008, but Scotland has a long way to go just to get down to the 11,870 abortions done in 2002.

The new figures show teens in Scotland have the highest abortion rates at 21.4 per 1,000 and residents of Tayside have the highest abortion rates at 14.7 per 1,000. The new numbers also revealed the abortion rate in the more impoverished areas came in at 16 per 1,000, almost double the rate of abortions in upper income areas, of 9.2 per 1,000.

As is the case in England, the new numbers reveal about 25 percent of women have had at least one abortion at the time they had their second one in 2010.

A representative of the Scottish government responded to the new report in an interview with STV, saying, “It is encouraging to see a reduction in the number of terminations for all age groups in Scotland for the second year running.”

The official credited sex education programs for dropping the abortion figures.

“Education has a key role to play in reducing unintended pregnancies and, with the full introduction of Curriculum for Excellence in August last year, children and young people learn, as part of a broad health and well-being curriculum strand, about relationships, sexual health and parenthood,” the unnamed official told STV. “We are currently developing a new sexual health and bloodborne virus framework. Within that there is continued emphasis on the importance of relationships, sexual health and parenthood education, the provision of drop-in services for young people to access information and services, and the availability of a range of contraception options to meet women’s needs, including longer-acting reversible contraception.”

The drop in abortions comes after new figures in England and Wales show abortions on the rise again.

Those numbers show 189,574 abortions were done in 2010, up .3% from the 189,100 abortions in 2009 and 8% more than in 2000 (175,542). Those abortions were done in residents of England and Wales and another 6,535 abortions were done on women and unborn children who are not residents of the United Kingdom. The increase is the first time abortions have gone up since 2006-2007.

Repeat abortions are still a problem in the UK as 64,303 procedures were done on women who already had at least one abortion and 1,201 were done on girls under 18 who had at least one abortion already while another 79 were done on girls under age 18 who had two or more previous abortions. The statistics revealed almost 300 women between the ages of 25 and 29 had four or more previous abortions at the time of the abortion they had in 2010.