MPs to debate abortions in GP surgeries

Abortions could be carried out in GP surgeries and polyclinics after amendments were put forward to modernise the Abortion Act 1967.

The amendments are designed to speed up access to early medical abortions and will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday.

Jacqui Lait MP (Conservative, Beckenham), who is tabling the amendments, told HCR that it would be up to each GP practice to decide if they want to provide abortion services.

She added: ‘It is about giving greater choice to women but it also allows GPs a choice as well. GP surgeries are a clean and safe environment and very appropriate for early medical abortions.'

Dr Evan Harris MP (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and Abingdon) said: ‘The Act is 40 years old and some of the provisions are not appropriate for today.

‘It does not take into account increased patient choice. Allowing early medical abortions in GP surgeries and family planning clinics is consistent with government policy of bringing care closer into the community.'

Julie Bentley, director of the FPA, added that the amendments were long overdue and were needed to speed up access to abortion clinics.

In May this year a DoH pilot study found that women were happy to receive early medical abortions in non-traditional settings.

Other amendments to be put forward include removing the need for two doctors' signatures and allowing early medical abortions to take place in the home.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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