Pro-Life Groups Concerned as Abortions Soar to Record High in Scotland

by Thilaka Ravi on  May 28, 2008 at 2:37 PM Sexual Health News
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 Pro-Life Groups Concerned as Abortions Soar to Record High in Scotland
Figures released by the Scottish Government show a record number of 13,703 abortions carried out last year - an average of 38 per day, since Britain legalized the practice in 1968.

It has also emerged that more than 3,500 of the women who had an abortion in Scotland last year had previous abortions and 372 were under-16-year-old girls, terminating a pregnancy.

The abortion rate was highest among 16 to 19-year-olds (24.9 per 1,000) and 20 to 24-year-olds (24.5 per 1,000).

Mary Scanlon MSP, the Scottish Tories' health spokeswoman, said: "The rising number of abortions is a serious cause of concern, particularly in tandem with the revelation that more than a quarter of women having abortions in 2007 had a previous termination as well."

"There is a general consensus that abortion should not be used as a form of contraception. Sadly, it appears that, for some women, this could be the case," Ms Scanlon added.

Ms Scanlon said it was crucial that NHS staff offered support and treatment as well as advice on contraception for the future, considering that a lot many teenagers were opting for abortions. 99.3 percent of abortions were carried out on NHS premises.

Abortion levels are a quarter of the birth levels in Scotland that stand at 57,781 in 2007.

According to Ian Murray, from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the abortion statistics showed proof that society was letting women down. He added: "Either our sexual health policies don't teach women anything about their fertility, or life in Scotland has been reduced to a commodity that can be disposed to suit the convenience of others."

"The reality is these statistics refer to human lives - both the babies lost and the women whose lives will be scarred by their decision forever," Murray said.

A spokesman for Mario Conti, the archbishop of Glasgow, said: "It is deeply disheartening to see the abortion figures continue to rise year after year. One abortion is one too many, but 13,703 is beyond imagination."

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

Government statistics also revealed that abortion levels were highest in poorer areas, calling for action to tackle poverty.  The highest abortion rate of 17.4 per 1,000 women was in deprived areas, while it was 9.6 per 1,000 in the least deprived areas in Scotland.

Ross Finnie, health spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said: "While it is important that abortion remains available under the legal framework of the NHS, I am concerned at the clear link between deprivation and increased abortion rates."

"It is clear that if the Scottish Government wants to reduce the number of abortions, it must focus its efforts on addressing the root causes of deprivation," Finnie added.

By comparison, in England and Wales, the total number of abortions was 193,737 in 2006, which works out to 530 per day.

Abortion remains illegal in Northern Ireland, except in limited circumstances when "serious risk" is posed to the mother's life, or her physical or mental health.

Figures according to Marie Stopes International, show that almost 1,300 women from Northern Ireland traveled to Britain for abortions in 2006.

A spokesman for the pro-choice charity said that the rise in abortions "merely reflected demand and the change in the status of women in the 21st century. The role and status and expectations of women in Scotland have changed astronomically since the 1960s."

"The number of abortions reflects demand. Women are able to control their fertility. We cannot have a return to back-street abortions," added the spokesman for Marie Stopes International.

Source: Medindia

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