The number of NHS trusts planning to or already offering early term abortions in GP surgeries has tripled in the past year, and pro-lifers fear this will fuel a surge in abortions.
A publication for doctors, GP magazine, has revealed that 17 health trusts are either offering or are planning to offer abortions for women up to nine weeks pregnant.
During the controversial procedure, known as Early Medical Abortion, women are given two pills to take.
One of the pills terminates the developing foetus, and the other is to induce a miscarriage and expel it from the womb.
Dr Peter Saunders, director of Christian Medical Fellowship, criticised the approach.
He said: “At a time when we’re cutting back on health services because there’s a recession, the Government is expanding taxpayer-funded abortion, having failed with a policy of value-free sex education, free condoms, and morning after pills to bring about real behaviour change.
He added: “It’s the classic ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach.”
Currently the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), one of the nation’s leading abortion providers, carries out Early Medical Abortions in GP surgeries in two health trusts.
However, a further four trusts have requested licences, and eleven more are considering applying for a licence.
Pro-abortion advocates have welcomed the increasing availability of terminations.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of BPAS, attempted to defend the expansion saying: “It makes perfect sense for the abortion pill to be available from GPs, health centres and family planning clinics where doctors have the time and knowledge to counsel women properly and provide 24/7 advice and support for their patients.”
Under the Abortion Act 1967, abortions can take place in hospitals or other locations approved by the Secretary of State for Health.
Last November new figures revealed that the UK has the highest number of abortions in Europe with 219,336 terminations taking place in one year.
The figures also revealed that Britain had the highest number of abortions for girls under 20 with 48,150 of the abortions falling into this age group.
The figures, released by the Institute for Family Policies, were the latest statistics available from the European Union for the year 2007.