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Wider access to abortion under fire

Many GPs are unhappy at the idea of polyclinics offering abortions, with one in three saying they would refuse to work at a surgery that did, according to a survey.

A cut in the current 24-week time limit for abortions was also urged by 49% of the 480 doctors questioned, with 11% wanting it to be lowered to 15 weeks or under.

Although a total of 48% questioned by GP newspaper thought the 24-week limit should remain, just 3% believed it should be increased to 26 weeks or more.

About 75% of GPs said they did not want to see the regulation that required two doctors to sign a form before an abortion could go ahead replaced with the need for only one signature.

This follows a suggestion by the government that polyclinics and GP surgeries should offer women easier access to abortions.

This would entail a procedure known as early medical abortion (EMA), which involves two trips to a clinic - hours or a day apart - to take pills that induce miscarriage.

Providers of EMA argue that women should be allowed to take the second pill at home after receiving medical instructions.

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