Four out of five GPs will refuse to perform abortions in their surgeries if the government moves to make the procedure more easily accessible, a survey claims.
Trials are currently being carried out to test the feasibility of the scheme, but the poll carried out by Doctors.Net, an online organisation representing GPs in England and Wales, found widespread opposition.
The group asked 2,175 doctors whether they will be willing to carry out the operation, and more than 75% said they are against the idea, with over half (54%) of these strongly objecting to the plans.
Dr Fiona Cornish, a GP in Cambridge and vice president of the Medical Women's Federation, told the GP newspaper Pulse that even prochoice GPs will avoid medical abortions because of time constraints.
"We're already doing minor surgery, a lot of hospital follow-ups, coils, family planning clinics," she said, adding: "No doubt there would be no extra funding."
And Dr Tim Ringrose, a medical director at Doctors.Net, said many GPs believe they could be seen as having a conflict of interest if they advise women to have an abortion, and then carry out the procedure themselves.
But a Department of Health spokesman said: "A final decision in allowing GPs to carry out the procedure in surgeries has not been made."