An Ulster University survey has found that a significant majority of NHS obstetricians and gynaecologists have indicated their support for delivering abortion services in Northern Ireland.
The survey, which was run in conjunction with University College London, provided an insight into the views of NHS health professionals on the new abortion care services, which will soon be required following the UK Parliament's decision to decriminalise abortion here.
Launched in October last year, the Survey of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Staff in Northern Ireland on forthcoming abortion law reform has been completed by 113 NHS obstetricians and gynaecologists.
Preliminary analysis indicated broad support for the provision of abortion care services and a demand for training.
The survey showed that 67% are in favour of decriminalisation on the understanding that the abortion limit would be 24 weeks.
When asked would they be willing to actively participate in medical abortion of pregnancy - where medication is used to end the pregnancy - 77% of respondents said yes.
Meanwhile, 62% of respondents said they were willing to actively participate in surgical abortion of pregnancy.
Obstetricians and gynaecologists also gave their support for training on the new regulations on abortion, with 88% of respondents so far welcoming this.
In addition, 82% stated training on counselling a woman requesting an abortion was welcome, with 69% saying they would welcome training on the differing types of abortion.
In terms of conscientious objection, there was an indication that respondents (86%) understood that this would only relate to active participation in an abortion procedure, and that staff would be obliged to participate in the care of these patients around these procedures.
Commenting on the preliminary survey results, lead researcher Dr Fiona Bloomer from Ulster University, said: "The survey provides the first assessment of obstetricians' and gynaecologists' views on abortion services in over a decade.
"As we await publication of the new regulations resulting from decriminalisation of abortion, these findings will provide confidence that NHS staff are willing to deliver new services."