Statistics

Abortion Statistics 2015 for Scotland

For the full report, please click on this link https://isdscotland.scot.nhs.uk/Health-Topics/Sexual-Health/Publications/2016-05-31/2016-05-31-Terminations-Report.pdf

Number of abortions:

12,082 abortions were carried out in Scotland in 2015 (11.6 per 1000 women), an increase from 11,776 in 2015.

In 1968, when the Abortion Act was implemented, there were 1500 abortions. The number of abortions then steadily increased to a peak of 13,908 abortions in 2008. Since 2008 the number of abortions was falling, until a rise again this year.

Age group:

The highest rate of abortion in 2015 was for women in their 20’s, with 19.5 abortions per 1000 women aged 20-24 years old and 15.6 abortions per 1000 women aged 25 to 29 years old.

The biggest rise in the rate of abortion in 2015 happened in the age group 30-39 years. There was an increase of 17.5% in this age group.

The rate of abortion in teenagers has been falling since 2007. The abortion rate in under 16 year olds was 1.6 per 1000 girls. The abortion rate in 16-19 year olds was 14.6 per 1000.

Method of abortion:

Medical abortions (using drugs) were allowed in the UK since 1991, in 1992 16.4% of abortions were medical. In 2015, 81.1% of all abortions carried out were medical, 18.9% of abortions carried out were surgical.

72.5% of abortions took place under 9 weeks gestation.

Repeat abortions:

1/3 abortions are carried out in women who have previously had an abortion.

Reasons for abortion:

The vast majority of abortions are carried out due to social reasons (98.3% = 11,877 abortions).

Disability accounted for 1.5% of all abortions in 2015:

There were 186 abortions on the ground of risk of disability, which is the highest number yet. 78 were for chromosomal abnormalities (eg. Down’s syndrome), 30 were for conditions of the nervous system (eg. spina bifida), and 47 were for other structural abnormalities (eg. heart defect, kidney abnormality).

No abortions were carried out because it was necessary to save the life of the woman.


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