About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an annual update on termination of pregnancy to December 2022. Data are derived from the Termination of Pregnancy Submissions Scotland system (ToPSS). Numbers and rates of termination are provided on a variety of characteristics, such as: previous termination, statutory Ground, gestation and method of termination. The outcomes are described for Scotland, NHS Board and local authority areas, and for age, ethnicity and deprivation sub-populations where numbers are sufficient.

Main points

  • The termination rate in Scotland between 2021 and 2022 rose by almost a fifth (19%). This up-tick was evident in the four age groups between 16 and 34 years. The increased rate of terminations in 2022 for those aged 16 to 19 years follows a fourteen year period of falling rates in this age group.
Image caption Termination rates, Scotland, 2013 to 2022
  • Termination rates increased steeply between 2021 and 2022 regardless of level of deprivation. This increase was less pronounced for women living in the least deprived areas.
  • Socioeconomic inequality widened in the last ten years in Scotland: termination rates for those living in the most deprived areas are now more than double that of those living in the least deprived areas.
  • The rate for women self-reporting one or more previous terminations also increased rapidly between 2021 and 2022. This increased multiple termination rate was more marked for women living in less deprived areas compared to those in more deprived areas, as measured by the gap between most and least deprived. Despite this, socioeconomic inequalities in multiple termination rates widened: women in the most deprived areas were almost three times more likely to self-report a previous termination than those living in the least deprived areas.
  • Inequalities were also evident in multiple termination rates by ethnicity: 67% of black and Caribbean women self-reported a previous termination compared to 42% of white women.
  • Variation existed across NHS Boards in the proportion of terminations at less than nine weeks' gestation: from 86% in the Islands to 64% in NHS Fife. Women living in more deprived areas and remote rural areas were less likely to have an early termination compared to women in less deprived areas and in accessible rural and urban areas.


An abortion can be induced (therapeutic) or spontaneous (miscarriage). This report focuses only on induced abortions. We also refer to these as terminations of pregnancy to avoid confusion with spontaneous abortions. Termination surveillance data are completed by staff in all NHS Boards on the ToPSS system. Notifications of abortion are submitted separately by the service providers to the Chief Medical Officer (Scotland).

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 28 May 2024.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 23 May 2024
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