Women 'should be allowed to have home abortions'

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Indy Politics

Women should be allowed to have abortions at home, a leading gynaecologist said yesterday. The call by Professor Allan Templeton, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, could trigger a furious row over abortion before the general election, which is expected in May.

Anti-abortion campaigners told The Independent they planned to target pro-abortion MPs in marginal seats, in an attempt to copy the rise of the right-wing "moral majority" in the US presidential elections.

Professor Templeton made his call at a Westminster summit on abortion, which was used by pro-abortion charities and campaigners to call for abortion to be made more freely available early in pregnancy.

The Government has been holding trials of the abortion drug RU486 for abortions at home. Two doses are administered in hospital under medical supervision but for the first time, women were allowed to have the abortion at home. John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, is expected to delay a decision until after the general election.

Ian Gibson, the Labour chairman of the Commons Select Committee on Science, who organised the meeting, said the Government should avoid turning the clock back to the era of backstreet abortions, depicted in the film Vera Drake.

Anti-abortion campaigners were strengthened by growing public alarm over the dramatic ultrasound film produced last July by Professor Stuart Campbell at London's Create Health Clinic of a 12-week foetus "walking" in the womb.