The professional body for GPs in the UK has come out in favour of fully decriminalising abortion.
The Royal College of GPs' chair, Helen Stokes-Lampard, said this stance "is about providing non-judgemental care to our patients so that women who face the difficult decision to proceed with an abortion are not disadvantaged by the legal system".
The Abortion Act 1967 made terminations legal in England, Wales and Scotland provided certain conditions are met – including approval from "two registered medical practitioners".
In Northern Ireland, abortion is still prohibited in the vast majority of cases. It's only legal if a woman's life is at risk or there's a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health. This means abortion is illegal in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormalities.
After polling its members, the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) said 62% of more than 4,400 respondents had said the organisation should support the decriminalisation of abortion.
Decriminalisation would make the procedure "governed by medical regulatory frameworks, not the criminal justice system", thus reducing lingering stigma around abortion and preventing the possibility of a woman ever being prosecuted for having one.
Just 19% of respondents said that the RCGP should oppose the decriminalisation of abortion, while 15% said that the RCGP should take a neutral position. A further 4% abstained.
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said in a statement: "This is an incredibly sensitive topic, but it's essential that we engage in debate and hear what our members have to say on all issues facing modern healthcare.
"It speaks to the strength of feeling of our members that we had such a good response rate to our consultation. The quality of the feedback has been hugely valuable in helping us form an official position on the decriminalisation of abortion.
"Ultimately, this is about providing non-judgemental care to our patients so that women who face the difficult decision to proceed with an abortion are not disadvantaged by the legal system."
Abortion charity Marie Stopes has welcomed the RCGP's decision, calling it "excellent news".
Dr Asha Kaliwal of the Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare also welcomed the news, saying: "We believe women should be able to access safe and legal abortion wherever they live in the UK."