Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Tuesday, 27 May 2008 16:53 UK

Tayside has highest abortion rate

image of a woman
The 20-24 age group had the highest rate of abortion

Tayside has a higher abortion rate than anywhere else in Scotland, according to the latest official health statistics.

Last year there were 1,297 terminations in the region, up from 1,191 in 2006. The 20-24 age group had the most terminations, followed by under 20s.

Dundee was top of the council area tables, with 655 abortions compared to 592 the previous year.

Across Scotland there were 13,703 terminations, with abortion rates highest in areas of deprivation.

In total, 372 abortions were carried out on girls under the age of 16.

In the NHS Tayside region there were 383 females under 20 and 398 in the 20-24 age group who had terminations.

There were 17.1 abortions for every 1,000 women aged 15-44.

NHS Grampian was next with 14.7. The Island health boards, made up of Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles NHS areas, had the lowest figure at 6.1.

Dr Drew Walker, director of public health at NHS Tayside, said the figures in his area were a continuing cause for concern and they would like to see them coming down.

He added: "We have a number of projects under way in Dundee and Tayside which are aimed at reducing the rate of terminations and improving sexual health overall.

"We are also improving access to emergency hormonal contraceptives which is particularly targeted at the 16 to 25 age group - the group with the highest rate of terminations."

These statistics are an ever-present sign that society has failed both Scotland's unborn children and women.
Catholic Church spokesman

A spokesman from the Catholic Church in Scotland said: "It is deeply disheartening to see the abortion figures continue to rise and rise, year after year.

"One abortion is one too many but 13,703 is beyond the imagination.

"These statistics are an ever-present sign that society has failed both Scotland's unborn children and women."

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said she was encouraged that more abortions were taking place in the earliest weeks of pregnancy.

"This suggests that women can access services more easily, and may even be more willing to use them, despite recent assertions by the church hierarchy that public opinion is turning against abortion," she said.

"Unwanted pregnancies cannot always be prevented and abortion is a safe, legal and legitimate service that can help women get a second chance when things go wrong."

MPs reject cut in abortion limit
21 May 08 |  UK Politics
Increase in abortions in Scotland
29 May 07 |  Scotland
Poverty link to pregnancy rates
30 Oct 07 |  Tayside and Central

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