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Survey reveals majority of GPs back abortion “on request”

18 October 2007

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A new survey shows that more than half of GPs support a change in the law to allow abortion “on request”.

Some 52% of GPs want women to be able to request an abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, according to research carried out by Marie Stopes International (MSI).

At the moment, two doctors must give their written consent before a woman can have an abortion.

The poll of 1,000 registered GPs across Britain found 80% described themselves as broadly “pro-choice”, while 20% said they were “anti-abortion”.

Almost two thirds of doctors (65%) thought the current 24-week time limit for abortion should be reduced. Of those who wanted a reduction, 62% agreed with a 20 to 23-week limit.

Three in five doctors (62%) said current guidelines allowing under-16s to have an abortion without the consent or knowledge of their parents were satisfactory.

Liz Davies, director of UK operations at MSI, said: “We’re delighted to find such strong endorsement from GPs for a change in the law to remove the archaic requirement for two doctors to provide written consent in order for any first trimester abortion to proceed.

“Contrary to popular belief, we do not currently have abortion on request in Great Britain, unlike most other European countries, and reform is long overdue.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Marie Stopes International