THE number of abortions recorded in Scotland shot up by almost a fifth last year, new figures have shown.

Statistics released by Public Health Scotland show the number of terminations in 2022 stood at 16,584, an increase of 19% (2653) from the previous year.

The rate of abortion in Scotland during the same year was 16.1 per 1000 women between the age of 15 and 44, up from 11.5 the previous year.

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The uptick was driven largely by increases in women aged between 16 and 29, the figures showed.

Women living in the least affluent areas of Scotland also accounted for twice as many abortions as those in the most affluent areas.

According to the statistics, 4744 were recorded in those who live in the poorest areas of the country, compared to 2219 in the most well-off places.

The number of women self-reporting having had a previous abortion has also doubled in the past nine years.

In 2013, the rate was 3.5 per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44, compared to 6.2 in 2022.