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Last Updated: Friday, 15 February 2008, 18:48 GMT
Greens back abortion law shake-up
Abortion equipment
The Greens want to bring abortion law up to date with "social realities"
The Green Party has voted in favour of easing restrictions in the 40-year-old abortion law in England and Wales.

The party's spring conference in Reading backed removing the rule that two doctors need to give approval.

It also supported nurses and midwives carrying out abortions at up to three months, and axing restrictions on where abortions can be conducted.

The Greens say the changes would remove barriers that mean many abortions are carried out later than necessary.

The shake-up would also bring the law into line with medical advances, they add.

'Emotional pain'

Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for the South East, said the moves reflected the recommendations of the Select Committee on Science and Technology.

"The conference decision is timely, given the current progress of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill through Parliament," she said.

"It was not those who favour these positive changes to the law who brought abortion into the debate about the bill, but those who would reduce women's access to abortion.

"But since the issue is now very much on the agenda, this is an ideal time to bring the 40-year-old bill up to date with medical technology and social realities."

Ms Lucas said that in some NHS trusts women can have to wait up to seven weeks once they have made the decision to have an abortion.

"This policy is an important step to ensure women do not face additional emotional pain and higher medical risks because they cannot afford to 'go private'," she added.

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