Doctors surgeries could offer early abortions
Abortions could be offered to women at GP surgeries under plans being considered by the government.
Two pilot studies are being carried out by the Department of Health to consider offering early abortions in ‘non-traditional’ settings, including doctors’ surgeries.
Currently, women up to nine weeks pregnant can go to a private clinic or an NHS hospital or clinic to be prescribed two abortion drugs 48 hours apart, which bring on a miscarriage.
But under the Abortion Act 1967, the health secretary also has powers to approve other places to perform medical abortions.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said no decisions had yet been taken about offering abortion services in GP practices, but two hospitals were currently trialing ‘services in non-traditional settings’ to assess effectiveness and safety.
‘The evaluation will be complete in the new year and we will consider the results carefully before reaching a decision,’ he added.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which provides 10,000 early medical abortions each year, said the possible move ‘makes absolute sense’ – as long as women get the aftercare they need.