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Plans to open up early abortion access for women

22 January 2009

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New government plans for easier access to abortions could see the procedure carried out at local surgeries and polyclinics.

Abortions for women less than nine weeks into a pregnancy, known as early medical abortion (EMA), involve patients making two visits to a clinic where they are given pills which induce miscarriage.

Instead of making two trips to a clinic, providers of EMA think that women should be allowed to take the second pill at home, providing they follow instructions.

Data uncovered by GP newspaper suggests that EMA could be offered in new units in GP surgeries or polyclinics.

The law currently states that the drugs can only be provided at licensed sites, such as hospitals, approved NHS providers and private clinics.

However, the health secretary can change this ruling and it is then up to primary care trusts to apply for its staff to be able to perform abortions, for example in GP surgeries.

Even without the changes private clinics can use the existing law to work with GPs to give an EMA in GP surgeries.

A spokeswoman for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said that one of its abortion clinics is already in operation in Wolverhampton within a GP surgery.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

British Pregnancy Advisory Service