Australia Health Minister Says Vote to Expand Abortion Drug Unlikely

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 7, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Health Minister Says Vote to Expand Abortion Drug Unlikely Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 7, 2005

Canberra, Australia ( — Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott says it’s unlikely that the nation’s parliament will have a conscience vote on whether to expand access to the dangerous abortion drug RU 486. Abortion advocates want the drug to be more available and are asking Abbott to change the law.

Abbot says the original restrictions put on the drug placed on it by the government and not by parliament through a conscience vote.

The current laws regulating the abortion drug, which is responsible for the deaths of women in the United States, Canada and Sweden, were put in place by former independent Senator Brian Harradine.

Currently women have to apply through their doctors for federal approval of using the drugs. Some Liberal members of the Parliament wont Abbott to allow a vote to change that.

Abbott told the Australia Associated Press he asked his staff for an update on the drug and why the current laws were in place.

"The brief oral advice is that there were good reasons in the past for preventing the use of RU486 here," he told reporters. "(There were) reasons associated with the health and safety of the women who might be using these drugs in particular circumstances."

"The oral advice is that the evidence from overseas is mixed. That while some countries that weren’t using it are now permitting it, other countries that have permitted it now have some reservations about it," he explained.