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Scotland abortion numbers highest ever on record

Scotland had its highest abortion numbers on record with 18,207 abortions taking place in 2023.

Abortion statistics released by Public Health Scotland reveal an increase of 1,600 abortions or 9.63% in one year, with numbers increasing from 16,607 in 2022 to 18,207 in 2023. 

The abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 increased from 16.1 in 2022 to 17.6 in 2023. This represents a 9.32% increase from 2022.

The figures also show a 29.2% increase from 2022 in the number of abortions for girls aged 15 years old and younger, with 113 abortions for that age group in 2022 increasing to 146 in 2023. Repeat abortions in 2023 accounted for 39.92% of all abortions, rising from 6,443 in 2022 to 7,268 in 2023. There was also a 35% increase from 2022 in late-term abortions at 21 weeks gestation or later.

The figures come just a week after the abortion numbers for England and Wales for 2022 were released, which revealed that there were over a quarter of a million abortions in that year.

This significant rise in abortions has accompanied the third full year that at-home abortion services have been operating in Scotland. Since home abortions were introduced, a number of significant problems have arisen. 

Polling published in the Daily Telegraph earlier this month shows that 71% of women support the reinstatement of in-person appointments and only 9% are in favour of the status quo. In contrast, only 16% of the public support proposals to decriminalise abortion.

Polling also shows large majorities of women in the UK support a number of changes to abortion laws that would have a positive impact on lowering the number of abortions. The polling shows that 70% of women want the current time limit on abortion to be lowered and 91% of women want a ban on sex-selective abortion.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: “It is a great tragedy that 18,207 lives were lost to abortion in Scotland last year, the highest number on record”.

“Every one of these abortions represents a failure of our society to protect the lives of babies in the womb and a failure to offer full support to women with unplanned pregnancies”.

“This significant rise in abortions has accompanied the third full year that abortion services outside of a clinical setting have been operating in Scotland”. 

“Ahead of at-home abortions being permanently made available, a large number of MSPs, MPs and medical professionals warned about the negative impact these schemes would have on women”. 

“Since then, we have seen these concerns confirmed, with women such as Carla Foster performing at-home abortions well beyond the 24-week time limit, putting their health at serious risk. If Carla Foster had been given an in-person consultation, where her gestation could have been accurately determined, she would not have been able to access abortion pills and this tragic case would have been prevented”.

“The clear solution here is the urgent reinstatement of in-person appointments. This would prevent women’s lives from being put at risk from self-administered late-term abortions”.

Polling shows that 71% of women support the reinstatement of in-person appointments and only 9% are in favour of the status quo”.

“We are calling on the Scottish Government to urgently reinstate in-person consultation for home abortions”.

Dear reader,

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