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Scotland abortion numbers second highest ever on record

Abortion statistics released by Public Health Scotland reveal that the number of abortions carried out in Scotland reached the second highest number on record last year. 

Official figures showed there were 13,583 terminations carried out in 2019 – the highest total since 2008 and an increase of 297 from 2018 when there were 13,286 abortions.

Almost half of medical terminations in 2019 involved self-administration of misoprostol in the home setting. This is the second stage of treatment for early medical terminations; the first drug (mifepristone) has been taken at the clinic. The figure rose from 29.9% in 2018 to 49.3% last year, and is likely to increase further when 2020 statistics are published due to a change in guidance allowing the self-administration of both mifepristone and misoprostol in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The repeat abortion rate for 2019 was 4.4 per 1,000 women ages 15-44, up from a rate of 3.5 per women aged 15-44 in 2010. In total, 34% of abortions in 2019 were repeat abortions.

The statistics also reveal 581 terminations for women over the age of 40 – the highest number in this age group since abortion became legal in 1967.

Last year, there was a rise in the number of young women having abortions, with 1834 abortions in those under 20, up from 1829 in 2018.

While the teenage pregnancy rate has fallen from 34 per 1000 women in 2014 to 30 per 1000 women in 2018, the proportion of teenage pregnancies that ended in termination between 1994 and 2018 increased from around a third (33.1%) to just under half (46.5%).

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“Sadly, the number of abortions taking place in Scotland has reached the second highest number on record. Every one of these 13,583 abortions is a tragic loss of life. 

“Even worse, that number could climb 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% of medical abortions in 2019. This is up from nearly 30% 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.

“Additionally, abortion activists continue to push for the removal of all safeguards in abortion law and want to see abortion available on demand, right up to the point of birth.

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

“We are calling on the Scottish Government to urgently bring forward sensible new restrictions and increased support for women with unplanned pregnancies. This would ensure we were working together as a society to reduce the tragic number of abortions that happen each year.”

Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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Dear reader

In 2020, the UK Government imposed an extreme abortion regime on Northern Ireland, which included a provision that legalised abortion right up to birth for disabilties including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

A new Bill has been launched at the Northern Ireland assembly that will remove the current provision that allows abortion for ‘severe fetal impairment’.

It is under these grounds in the regulations that babies with disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot can currently be singled out for abortion in Northern Ireland because of their disability and can be aborted right up to birth.

Before the new abortion regime was imposed on Northern Ireland in 2020, disability-selective abortion for conditions such as Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot was not legal and there was a culture of welcoming and supporting people with these disabilities rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome in Northern Ireland, in the same year only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales. 

This contrasts with the situation in the rest of the United Kingdom where disability-selective abortion has been legal since 1967.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

We are, therefore, asking people like you to take 30 seconds of your time and add your support to the campaign to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot in Northern Ireland.

If you live in Northern Ireland: 
Ask your MLAs to vote to stop abortion up to birth for disabilities including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot:

If you live outside Northern Ireland: 
Show your support by signing this petition in support of the Bill:

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Help stop abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities including Down's syndrome & club foot

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