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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Increase in abortions in Scotland
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The number of abortions has hit an all-time high
The number of abortions carried out in Scotland is continuing to rise, according to official figures.

An all-time high of 13,081 pregnancies were terminated in 2006, compared with 12,603 the previous year.

The rate of abortions was highest among women aged between 16 and 19. The NHS Tayside area had the highest figures for those aged from 15 to 44.

Minister for Public Health Shona Robison said the rise, particularly for under 16s, was disappointing.

The Scottish health statistics showed the level of abortions among those aged under 16 also reached a record high of 362 in 2006.

The figure was 341 the year before and 309 in 2004.

Lower rates

The statistics showed that for women aged between 16 and 19, 24.1 per 1,000 had abortions.

For those aged between 20 and 24 the rate was just slightly lower at 23.6 per 1,000.

Lower rates were seen in those aged between 25 and 29 with 15.8 terminations per 1,000 and in women aged over 40 with 2.1 per 1,000.

In NHS Tayside, the rate was 15.7 abortions per 1,000 women.

In Lothian and Greater Glasgow the rate for the same group of was 13.9 per 1,000.

The Scottish government is committed to improving Scotland's sexual health and reducing the number of unintended pregnancies
Shona Robison
Minister for public health

The health boards of Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles have the lowest rates at 6.1 per 1,000 women, while Argyll and Clyde has a rate of 8.4 per 1,000 women.

Ms Robison said: "The Scottish government is committed to improving Scotland's sexual health and reducing the number of unintended pregnancies through Respect and Responsibility, the national sexual health strategy."

The Scottish Executive has provided more than 600,000 in funding over the next two years for a programme for secondary teachers providing sex education.

The amount of early abortion procedures has been relatively stable over the last five years with 67.3% of all terminations performed at less than 10 weeks in 2006.

'Deadly social experiment'

The use of medical methods of abortion, which involves termination of a pregnancy without a surgical procedure, continues to increase, with 59.1% carried out last year, compared with 16.4% when they were first introduced in 1992.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: "Abortion is anti-child, anti-women and anti-person.

"There must be a return to personal social responsibility regarding sexual practice and care for our own offspring."

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