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GPs’ abortions considered

5th December 2007

Trials allowing early-stage abortions to be carried out in non-traditional settings are currently underway in England, the Department of Health (DoH) has said.

If deemed safe and successful, the trials could lead to the procedure being undertaken in doctors’ surgeries.

Two hospitals in undisclosed locations are being funded by the government to perform early medical abortions – up to nine weeks of pregnancy – to evaluate effectiveness and safety.

Abortions at this stage are triggered by pills which cause an early miscarriage and do not involve surgery.

Currently early medical abortions can only be carried out in approved clinics and hospitals.

A statement from the DoH said no decision has been made “on whether to set up abortion services in GP practices or any other non-traditional settings”.

“We are formally evaluating the safety and effectiveness of providing early medical abortion services in non-traditional settings, which in future could be a community medical setting such as a doctor’s surgery which has the appropriate medical expertise,” the statement added.

This evaluation is expected to be completed in the new year.

It follows recommendations from the science and technology committee to make access to abortions easier without the need for approval from two doctors.

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