Australia State Queensland Signs Off on Applications to Use Abortion Drug

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia State Queensland Signs Off on Applications to Use Abortion Drug Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 24, 2006

Brisbane, Australia ( — Officials in the Australian state of Queensland have signed off on applications from two abortion practitioners there to be the first in the island nation to give women the dangerous abortion drug RU 486. There was some question whether the applications would run afoul of state law.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie indicated the state affiliate of the Australian Medical Association had expressed concern that the state’s law’s would prevent the abortion practitioners from distributing the abortion drug.

The state AMA branch wrote Queensland officials on April 18 for a clarification.

According to the Sunday Times newspaper, Queensland officials received word from federal authorities that state law was not inconsistent with the decision by the Australian Parliament to allow the Therapeutic Goods Administration to determine if abortion practitioners can dispense the drug.

"The registration of doctors to prescribe RU 486 in line with recent changes to the federal laws is now a matter for the TGA," Beattie said, according to the newspaper.

"There is no need to change the law for doctors who are registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration," he added.

Earlier this month, the TGA approved the request from Caroline de Costa, a Cairns abortion practitioner, to import and prescribe the drug for abortions. She will only be giving it to women within her practice, and not to women throughout the nation.

Abortion practitioners at three Melbourne hospitals are considering signing up to use the drug as well. Royal Women’s Hospital, Monash Medical Centre and the Austin, who want to do chemical abortions.

Right to Life Australia spokeswoman Margaret Tighe told The Age that the TGA should have been more cautious in agreeing to the first application to use the abortion drug following news that nine women have died worldwide from it and more than 850 women in the United States alone have been injured.

"Tragically it will no doubt bring about deaths of unborn children, and it may, and I hope it doesn’t, bring about the deaths of any Australian women," she said.

Meanwhile, a French company that makes the mifepristone abortion pills told The Age that it is talking with two Australian drug companies about supplying the drugs to them and pursuing registering it with the TGA.

Once the drug is registered, it would be made available to all women throughout the island nation.