Scotland’s abortion rate is at its second-highest level on record, new figures show.
Public Health Scotland said that 13,583 abortions were performed in 2019, a termination rate of 13.2 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.
The figure is the highest since 2008 and represents an increase of 297 from 2018.
The majority of women undergoing abortions were in their 20s, but abortions rates for women in their 40s are steadily rising. There were 581 abortions in the 40-plus age group in 2019, the highest number ever.
Catherine Robinson, spokesperson for Right To Life UK, said the figures for 2020 will likely be even higher.
“A change of guidelines in 2018, which allows women to take the second set of abortion pills involved in a medical abortion out of clinical settings accounted for nearly 50 per cent of medical abortions in 2019,” she said.
“This is up from nearly 30 per cent in 2018, but is likely to further increase next year when 2020 statistics are published due to a change in guidance allowing ‘DIY’ home abortions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Michael Robinson, director of communications at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said: “Women from Scotland’s most deprived areas are over two times more likely to undergo an abortion compared to women from Scotland’s least deprived areas.”
“This is a shocking symbol of inequality which is totally unacceptable in a 21st-century society. So often, women are pushed and pressured towards making a choice for a number of societal reasons such as finances, unstable relationships or employment.”