Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 17:42 UK

Abortions on under-14s revealed

Nurse in medical clinic
Last year 343 abortions were carried out on girls under the age of 16

Abortions were carried out on almost 100 girls aged 14 or younger last year in Scotland, figures have shown.

The statistics were contained in response to a freedom of information request by a Scottish newspaper.

Almost 3,000 girls under 15 had terminations between 2001 and 2008, eight of whom were 12-years-old.

Previous official figures have only given numbers for the under-16 age group in general, with no further age breakdown.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said the figures, obtained by the Daily Record newspaper, gave "cause for concern".

She said: "The number of 12 and 13-year-olds who get pregnant and have terminations is low but it is still a cause for concern.

"It is, however, important to note that the latest statistics show no rise in pregnancies in under-16s."

Sex education

She said the government was working with health boards and councils to ensure "appropriate" education on sex and relationships was delivered in all schools.

The figures revealed 343 abortions were carried out on girls under 16 last year.

Of these, 248 were 15, 82 were 14, and 13 were under 14.

Since 2000, a total of 2,871 abortions were performed on girls under 16.

Of these, 2,081 were aged 15, a further 695 were 14, 87 were 13, and eight were 12.

'Wrong strategy'

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said: "These are appalling and distressing statistics.

"If anything it indicates that the government's sexual health strategy, which was created by the last administration and perpetuated by the current administration, is working perfectly.

"Because part of that strategy was fast and instant access to widespread abortion services. Unfortunately, it is completely the wrong strategy."

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