Australia Health Minister Leaves Open Option to Allow Abortion Drugs

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 13, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 13, 2005

Canberra, Australia ( — Health Minister Tony Abbott left open the option of allowing sales of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 in Australia. The pills have resulted in the deaths of five women in the United States and others elsewhere, but are currently prohibited in the island nation.

Liberal MP Sharman Stone has asked Abbott’s parliamentary secretary, Christopher Pyne, to allow sale of the drugs because women in some parts of Australia live too far away from abortion businesses. Most facilities that perform abortions are located in metropolitan areas.

Abbott and Pyne are pro-life advocates and any attempt to weaken the current ban could fracture the governing coalition, according to The Australian newspaper. However, Abbott said yesterday that he was "always prepared to consider a good argument" for overturning the ban, though he has no plan to do so.

According to the Aussie newspaper, at least one pharmaceutical company is looking at submitting an application with the Therapeutic Goods Administration to market the abortion drug in Australia.

West Australian Liberal backbencher Mal Washer is supporting Stone’s request, but it is expected that the national party will not get behind it, which could cause its defeat. However, Prime Minister John Howard says a debate may be possible.

"We’ll have a talk about that inside the Government," the Prime Minister said. "Any view I have on it I will first contribute to the internal government discussion on it."

Meanwhile, Abbott said he supports a move to limit late-term abortions by establishing a 48 hour waiting period before one can be performed.

"It’s been apparent for some time that Victoria is becoming the capital of the late-term abortion in Australia," he said.