Published: 29 May 2012
Abortions Statistics, 2011
Induced abortion is one of the most commonly performed gynaecological procedures (Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Guidelines 2011). These procedures are carried out under the terms of the Abortion Act 1967, which applies to England, Wales and Scotland. Doctors have a legal requirement to notify the Chief Medical Officer in Scotland of all terminations carried out in Scotland. The Information Services Division (ISD) is responsible for the administration and reporting of these notifications of abortions on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer in Scotland.
Since the Act was passed in 1967 there has been a steady increase in the number of terminations of pregnancy carried out in Scotland. The most significant growth in abortions was in the four years following the introduction of the Abortion Act, from 1,500 in 1967 to over 7,500 in 1971.
In 1991 medical methods of termination were licensed for use in the United Kingdom for abortion under 10 weeks gestation. Medical methods of termination are carried out using drugs such as mifepristone with or without the addition of prostaglandin. The Abortion (Scotland) Regulations 1991 reflect this change in abortion provision and also place an upper limit of 24 weeks on abortions for most reasons. Two doctors must agree that termination of pregnancy is necessary for one of the reasons specified in the 1991 Regulations; these are classified by Grounds A to E (see background Information [31KB]).
Abortion Metadata Document [51KB]