The number of women in Dundee having abortions is at its highest level on record, amid a spike in older women requesting the procedure.
Figures from NHS Scotland show 636 Dundonians had abortions last year – up from 534 in 2016.
More terminations were recorded in Dundee than elsewhere in Tayside, with 266 and 282 in Angus and Perthshire respectively last year.
Tayside also has the highest per-head rate of terminations of any health board in the country.
Regional figures indicate a large rise in the number of older women requesting the procedure, while the number of younger women and girls having abortions has fallen.
The number of Tayside women aged 25-34 getting abortions has risen by 47% in eight years. Just 10 underage girls had abortions in 2018, down from 28 in 2010.
Birth rates among 25 to 29-year-olds in Dundee are also at their lowest level on record, according to official statistics.
Those living in the most deprived parts of the area are more than twice as likely to undergo an abortion as those in the least deprived.
Experts, including Dr Ashley Rogers of Abertay University’s division of sociology, believe there are several possible reasons.
Among the issues she believes to have had an impact are the cost of living including housing and childcare costs, and a decision by more women to stay in work so as to not fall out of favour with their bosses compared with male colleagues.
Dr Rogers said: “Women do have, and should a have, a choice. Their bodily autonomy should be respected – women are considering various personal, economic and social factors which constrain their choice of whether they want a child, or not.”
Katherine O’Brien of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) says older women may “take chances with their contraception under the misconception they are unlikely to conceive.”
BPAS also believes young people are more risk-averse, having less sex and are putting off starting a family.
The charity carried out a study last year that concluded teenage pregnancies are on the wane because millennials are drinking and socialising less – and have easy access to contraception.
Young men and women told the charity they feared having children too early could thwart their career prospects.