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Doctors reject nurse abortions bid

They also voted against relaxing laws on what is an "approved" place to carry out terminations in the first three months of pregnancy.

If doctors had voted in favour, it could have paved the way for abortions to be performed in places such as GP surgeries.

But medics did vote in favour of giving women quicker access to abortions in the early stages.

Delegates at the British Medical Association (BMA) conference voted by 67% to 33% in favour of removing the need for two doctors' signatures to allow an abortion in the first trimester.

The move may effectively remove the need for women to meet medical criteria that continuing with the pregnancy poses a risk to their health.

It now means that an abortion in the first three months could be as easy to obtain as other treatments.

The motion said current laws should be amended so that "first trimester abortion would be available on the same basis of informed consent as other treatment and therefore without the need for two doctors' signatures".

Government figures published earlier this month showed that the number of abortions performed in England and Wales rose 3.9% in 2006.

The abortion rate was highest for women aged 19, at 35 per 1,000.

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Video: Alison Hadley (Teenage Pregnancy Unit) on the teenage pregnancy strategy

Abortion numbers on the rise

British Medical Association

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"More emphasis should be placed on contraceptive services and less on using abortion as a means of contraception" - Name and address supplied

"Abortion is too easy. If young girls get themselves pregnant then they should be made to have the baby and then give it up for adoption. Only when there are severe health problems should abortion be allowed" - Name and address supplied

"An increase in abortion rates is generally indicative of reduced contraceptive use within that society. Either contraceptive services are not being accessed or they are inadequate. This therefore is where the investment/change should be concentrated" - Name and address supplied