23/11/2011 01:34 GMT

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist Call To Limit Abortion Counselling

A Royal College has explicitly said women who are sure they want an abortion should "not be subjected to compulsory counselling".

In revised guidelines on abortion, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said counselling should be available for those who want it, but should not be mandatory.

The guideline also supports the safety of taking pills at home to induce an abortion.

This is illegal in the UK and was the subject of a High Court challenge by British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) earlier this year.

On counselling, the RCOG guidance says: "Women who are certain of their decision to have an abortion should not be subjected to compulsory counselling.

"Pathways to additional support, including counselling and social services, should be available."

It follows a row in September over the issue of counselling, with Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries and Labour's Frank Field losing a Commons vote on the issue.

They wanted to prevent non-statutory abortion providers such as Marie Stopes and BPAS from offering counselling.

Ms Dorries said that, because they receive money for carrying out terminations, the organisations have a vested interest.

The old RCOG guidelines say professionals "must be sensitive to the different stages of decision-making that individual women have reached, and must be able to provide the degree of support and counselling required by each individual."