A new poll shows that just five per cent of people think women should be allowed to have an abortion without seeing a doctor.
This comes as new Department of Health draft guidelines say that a doctor is “not required to personally perform every action” and certain actions may be undertaken by “registered nurses or midwives”.
It also says: “We consider it good practice that one of the two certifying doctors has seen the woman, although this is not a legal requirement.”
The ComRes survey also found that people are in favour of doctors being disciplined if they pre-sign abortion forms.
And the poll showed large opposition to nurses carrying out the procedure.
Of those surveyed, 84 per cent agreed with the statement that a woman asking for an abortion “should always be seen in person by a doctor”.
Peter Saunders, head of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said: “This shows that the Department of Health is completely out of touch with public opinion on this issue.”
Under the 1967 Abortion Act, abortions can only be performed if two doctors affirm ‘in good faith’ that a request meets at least one of the grounds set out in the Act.
Dr Saunders criticised the draft Department of Health guidance – which is for independent clinics – because it could reduce doctors in these places to “perfunctory rubber-stamps allowing nurses effectively to authorise and perform abortions”.
“It is after all the duty of parliament to make laws; not abortion providers and not the Department of Health”, he added.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) which is Britain’s largest abortion provider, says it should not be necessary for a doctor to see a woman before signing a form to approve an abortion.