TEENAGE pregnancies in Scotland have fallen to a record low, but the percentage ending in termination is higher than ever.

Pregnancies among women aged under 20 have been falling steadily since 2007 and in 2016 dropped to the lowest rate since records began in 1994.

HeraldScotland:

They have been falling most obviously among those in the 16 to 19 age group, but the rate has also halved over the past 20 years among girls aged 15 or younger.

The decline has also been more pronounced among teenagers from the poorest backgrounds.

The statistics are published today by ISD Scotland.

HeraldScotland:

Young women from more deprived backgrounds are more likely to keep their babies than women from the most affluent areas and as the difference in pregnancy rates between the two groups has narrowed, the percentage of teenage pregnancies ending in termination has increased.

In 2016, 43 per cent of teenage pregnancies in Scotland were aborted, compared to 33 per cent in 1994.

Among the least deprived group, 72 per cent of pregnancies were aborted compared to 32 per cent among the most deprived.

The long-term trend in Scotland largely mirrors that in England and Wales.

HeraldScotland:

Between 1994 to 2007, the teenage pregnancy rate in Scotland hardly changed. By 2007, there were 57.7 pregnancies for every thousand women under 20.

In the past decade, however, the trend has been steadily downwards, to 31.6 per 1000 in 2016.

For all women under 18, the decline in teenage pregnancy rate over the same period has been 55 per cent, to 18.9 per 1000 in 2016.

For girls aged 15 and under - who accounted for just five per cent of teenage pregnancies in 2016 - there has been a 66 per cent drop, from 7.8 per 1000 in 2007 to 3.1 per 1000 in 2016.

Teenagers living in areas with the highest deprivation were five times more likely to fall pregnant than those in the most affluent areas.

HeraldScotland:

Despite a small increase in teenage pregnancies among the most affluent teenagers in 2016 - the first ever annual increase since records began - overall rates have fallen significantly across the whole Scottish population since 2007.

The ISD Scotland report states: "While teenage pregnancy rates have reduced across all levels of deprivation between 2007 and 2016, rates in the most deprived areas have fallen more, narrowing the absolute gap between the most and least deprived."

Regionally, the rate of teenage pregnancies was highest in Fife and lowest in the island health boards.