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Easier abortion plan consultations

8th May 2008

The government wants to launch a consultation over relaxing abortion rules in England to allow terminations outside of hospital settings.

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Public health minister Dawn Primarolo said the ministers wanted to assess whether there was demand for such a service.

A pilot study has already established that early abortions using pills rather than surgery could be safely carried out in local health centres but the government wants to consult NHS staff and patients before relaxing rules affecting terminations before nine weeks.

Ms Primarolo said: “Our priority is to reduce the time women have to wait for an abortion at what is already a very difficult time for them.?

Figures show that two thirds of abortions are carried out under 10 weeks but the abortion service is still affected by delays.

The medical abortion using tablets can only be carried out in licensed premises, such as hospitals, approved NHS providers and private clinics. The pilot compared abortions in a community hospital and health unit, where nurses supervised the women rather than specialist doctors.

None of the pilot sites reported more complications and women favoured the informality.

Marie Stopes, an approved NHS provider, welcomed the move saying it would increase the choices available to women facing unplanned pregnancy.

However, the Prolife Alliance said it felt efforts to reduce abortions would be more welcomed by the majority of the population.

“But the best the government can come up with in the face of escalating abortion figures is quick-fix schemes to speed up the process,? added spokeswoman Julia Millington.

 

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