Early abortions 'could be offered by GPs in England'

Four health trusts in England have applied for licences to perform early abortions in GP surgeries, new figures have shown.

Two clinics have been set up and are carrying out early abortions already, while another 11 are considering requesting licences to conduct the procedure, according to data obtained by GP newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act.

An early abortion involves taking two pills, either hours or a day apart, to induce a miscarriage.

Data from 114 primary care trusts in the country was analysed together with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a charity that is the leading provider of abortion services in the UK, which is responsible for running early abortion services in GP surgeries in Wolverhampton and Newcastle.

The chief executive of the BPAS, Ann Furedi, said that the abortion pill was a safe and effective method for early pregnancy termination.

She said "it makes perfect sense" for the pill to be offered by GPs, health centres and family planning clinics because "doctors have the time and knowledge to counsel women properly and provide 24/7 advice and support for their patients".