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Abortion provider in High Court bid

The UK's largest abortion provider is taking legal action in a bid to make it easier for women to complete the procedure at home.

The High Court challenge, which is being contested by the Department of Health, comes in the wake of a breakdown in discussions between experts from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and ministers.

Ann Furedi, Chief Executive of the BPAS charity, said it could no longer "sit back" on the issue after a decade of "ebbing and flowing of enthusiasm" within government.

She said that such enthusiasm has been "entirely dependent" on whether officials deemed it "politically expedient" for reform of abortion services to take place, adding that the Department had always agreed it that women completing abortions at home was safe.

In its action, BPAS is asking the High Court for an updated interpretation of the 1967 Abortion Act, which stipulates that treatment for the termination of pregnancy must be carried out in a hospital or clinic.

This means women wanting an early medical abortion (EMA) before nine weeks' gestation must go to a clinic twice to receive the tablets in two stages.

BPAS believes women should be given this second dose, with clear instructions on how to take it at home, during the one visit.

It argues that women suffer unnecessary anxiety about having an abortion on their way home from the clinic, especially those who have travelled long distances to the clinic and those who use public transport.

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