Australia Debate Continues on Allowing RU 486 Abortion Drug

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 14, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 14, 2005

Canberra, Australia ( — Debate continues in Australia over whether or not the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug should be allowed there. While elected officials wait for the Therapeutic Goods Administration to issue an opinion, they’ve been debating whether the drug is safe enough for women to use.

Last week, Christopher Pyne, the parliamentary secretary for health, pointed to the fact that the drug is responsible for the deaths of five women in the United States and others elsewhere.

"There are serious concerns about the impact on the health of women who have been prescribed RU 486 in countries that allow its use, which the minister would be required to consider," he wrote to MPs.

Then, over the weekend, Nationals Senate leader Ron Boswell and Liberal senator Alan Eggleston, a former OBGYN, raised concerns about women in rural areas using the abortion drug without proper supervision by a doctor.

Health Minister Tony Abbott, who opposes abortion, has already weighed in saying the drug causes health concerns for women. Of requests from abortion advocates to approve it, he said it is "very discouraging for those who think the drug is the answer to a pregnant country woman’s prayer."

On Monday, Liberal MP Mal Washer said it was wrong for the various officials to give their opinion before the TGA has had a chance to weigh in on the debate.

"What we’ve got now is a lot of pseudo-medical experts offering advice here when it should not be a political decision," he said, according to The Australian newspaper.

"Every medication has risks. If I give you an antibiotic you can have an allergic reaction. We should allow the TGA to do its proper job if the drug company applies," he added.