It has emerged that a number of NHS trusts are planning to allow early abortions to take place at GP surgeries.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is already offering early abortions at a GP’s practice in Wolverhampton, and has permission to offer the service at another surgery in Newcastle upon Tyne.
According to GP magazine, primary care trusts in Hounslow, Islington, Sandwell in the West Midlands, Kirklees in West Yorkshire and Somerset are also considering the plans.
BPAS Chief Executive Ann Furedi said the early abortion method is a cheaper option for the NHS and offering it in local surgeries will help women fit having an abortion in with “childcare, work and other commitments close to home”.
Last year Mrs Furedi admitted during a public debate on abortion that the embryo is a human life. However, she said, when that life begins to matter is relative to the wishes of its mother.
Pro-life campaigners say making it easier to terminate a pregnancy will lead to more women having abortions they later regret.
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries said: “The Government is doing everything in its power to facilitate more abortions. It is a dereliction of the Government’s duty of care.”
Dr Trevor Stammers, a GP and chairman of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: “I will certainly be forced to resign from practice if the PCT compels any building in which I practise to carry out abortions. I will not be alone in doing this.
“It is ironic that this move comes when the damaging psychological effects of abortion are becoming increasingly clear.”
Early Medical Abortion (EMA) can be carried out within the first nine weeks of pregnancy.
Women are given two pills to take, one to kill the developing foetus, and the other to induce a miscarriage and expel it from the womb.
Under the Abortion Act 1967, abortions can take place in hospitals or other locations approved by the Secretary of State for Health.
Despite safety concerns about providing EMA at non-hospital settings, the Department of Health last year accepted the findings of its own “short but intense” study into the “safety, effectiveness and acceptability” of the plan.
The report conceded that its conclusions were subject to “fairly considerable limitations”, but found no problem with allowing EMA to take place in “non-traditional settings”.
The report was co-authored by a leading pro-abortion activist, and included at least four abortion doctors on its advisory panel, leading to criticism from pro-life campaigners.
Anthony Ozimic, Political Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said at the time: “The Department of Health report’s credibility should be questioned, as the report was not an independent, peer-reviewed, journal-published study, but was in fact co-authored by one of Britain’s most active campaigners for easier access to abortion, Ellie Lee of the Pro-Choice Forum.
“The report’s advisory group likewise featured some of Britain’s leading pro-abortionists, most notably Ann Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), who has no problem with the increasing numbers of abortions.”
Britain currently holds the highest termination rates in Western Europe and if current trends in growth continue it could bypass the United States, which currently tops the global list, within a decade.
There were 205,600 abortions in England and Wales in 2007. BPAS carries out almost 13,000 early medical abortions each year.