Signature requirements do not delay abortions

The requirement for two doctors' signatures is not delaying terminations of pregnancies, says the government.

Data for 2006 show that 68 per cent of terminations take place at less than 10 weeks and 89 per cent at less than 13 weeks, according to a response to the House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee's report on abortion. It recommended that the requirement be removed.

The government response added that: 'Two hospitals are being funded by the DoH to run early medical abortion services in non-traditional settings to evaluate the effectiveness of provision in these settings.'

A decision on terminations being performed in GP surgeries will be taken in 2008.

A DoH spokeswoman said: 'We have not made a decision on whether to set up abortion services in GP practices or any other non-traditional settings.'

Any GP practice undertaking terminations in the future would have to have 'appropriate medical expertise', she added.

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