Campaigners have urged Nicola Sturgeon to use planned new powers to decriminalise abortion.

The First Minister has said that she has no plans to amend the law around terminations.

But women’s groups and abortion rights activists have called on her to change the legislation and “trust women".

Under the 1967 Act it is illegal for a women to have an abortion without the permission of two doctors.

Now a new campaign ‘We Trust Women' has been launched by the UK’s largest abortion charity, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas), and supported by groups including the Royal College of Midwives, Fawcett Society, the Family Planning Association, Women’s Aid, Maternity Action and End Violence Against Women.

Ann Furedi, the chief executive of Bpas, said: “Scotland has a proud tradition of progressive abortion policy and practice, and devolution provides the Scottish government with the opportunity to once again lead the way.

"One in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime in the UK.

"The ability to end a pregnancy has enabled women to live their lives in the way that they see fit and bear children at the time they think is right.

"It is high time we recognised this by taking abortion out of the criminal law, and making clear that we trust women to make their own decisions about their own lives and bodies.”

Scottish ministers are due to get control over abortion laws as part of the Scotland Bill currently going through Westminster.

But the proposal is controversial, with critics warning it could eventually lead to two separate systems and a cross-border trade in terminations.

Labour has signalled that it will try to delay the devolution of abortion by a year, to allow time for a review into the potential consequences.

Supporters argue that the current situation is an anomaly and Holyrood already controls a number of sensitive issues, including end-of-life legislation.

Others point to the fact that Ms Sturgeon has been clear that she has no plans to change the current law.

The Bpas campaign points out that in Scotland, as in every part of the UK, a woman who ends her own pregnancy without legal authorisation can be sent to jail.

Campaigners say that the change is needed to guarantee women’s right, prevent delays and allow easy access to what they say are safe and effective medications to induce abortion which are now available online.

They also warn that the threat of prosecution is putting doctors off training in the field.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “We need modern abortion legislation fit for 21st Century.”

Diane Munday, who was the general secretary of the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA) in the 1960s, said the need for permission from two doctors was "anachronistic".

Many countries "including Canada and Australia have decriminalised abortion and the skies have not fallen in – and neither have rates of abortion risen," she said.

Anti-abortion campaigners oppose calls for decriminalisation, saying it would create 'abortion on demand'.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said it has no plans to change the law on abortion, adding: "Abortion is provided to all women in Scotland who require it, within the law.”