Information on abortions in Scotland between 1st January 2000 and 31st December 2020: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

For the number of abortions performed in Scotland between 1st January 2000 and 31st December 2020. Out of the total number of abortions performed on women between the mentioned dates, how many were for the following reasons:

1. Rape and Incest

2. Medical risk to the expectant mother

3. Fetal health problems

4. Would interfere with education or career

5. Not mature enough to raise their child

6. Not wishing to be a single mother

7. They do not wish to have children at all

8. Cannot afford to have a baby

9. Not ready for a child

10. Forced to abort against their will

11. Gave full voluntary consent for aborting the unborn child


As you may be aware, there is a legal requirement to notify the CMO in Scotland of all terminations carried out in Scotland. Public Health Scotland (PHS) is responsible for the collation of data derived from notifications of termination of pregnancy on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in Scotland. PHS publish annual termination of pregnancy statistics reports which include some of the information you have requested.

Annual termination of pregnancy statistics published before 2019 can be found at the link below, the link includes annual reports from the years 2010-2018. Sexual Health | Publications | Health Topics | ISD Scotland

These reports include the number of abortions carried out within Scotland between 2010 and 2020. Information is provided by age, gestation, method of termination, NHS Board of residence and treatment, deprivation area, previous termination and ground(s) for termination. There are seven statutory grounds for termination of pregnancy and at least one must be recorded on every notification form submitted to the CMO. Detail of these statutory grounds for termination are included within the annual reports. Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.

The remainder of the information you have requested may be held by Public Health Scotland, contact details for Public Health Scotland have been included below. Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulation (EIR) requests - Contact us - Public Health Scotland

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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