Second Australian Hospital Approved to Sell Dangerous Abortion Drug

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 28, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Second Australian Hospital Approved to Sell Dangerous Abortion Drug Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 28,

Sydney, Australia ( — A Sydney hospital has become the second in Australia authorized to sell the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug and the third place nationwide. Westmead Hospital in Sydney found out on Tuesday that the Therapeutic Goods Administration would allow it to dispense the drug to women.

Terry McGee, director of obstetrics and gynecology at the Westmead Hospital, confirmed that it would be selling the drug, which has killed 13 women worldwide and injured more than 1,100 in the United States alone.

McGee told The Age newspaper that the abortion drugs would only be used in cases where the unborn child had severe physical or mental disabilities or when the woman’s health was in danger.

She said she didn’t expect the number of abortions to go up, but explained that some women getting surgical abortions would get drug-induced abortions instead.

The decision to allow the Sydney hospital to sell the abortion drug comes just days after the TGA allowed 10 physicians at Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne to use it.

RWH has also said it will only give women the abortion drug in limited circumstances, such as when it is "medically necessary" — though abortions routinely cause women medical and other problems.

Women who can’t have surgical abortions will qualify to use mifepristone. Women with fibroids — tumors in the womb — would qualify, RWH said.

Chris Bayly, the hospital’s associate director of women’s services, said the drug would not be available to women who would simply prefer it to a surgical abortion.

Cairns abortion practitioner Caroline De Costa and one of her colleagues were the first to be allowed to use the abortion drug when the TGA gave them that authority in April 2006.

The abortion drug is not sold nationwide because no pharmaceutical company has applied for a license to do that.

In addition to the deaths worldwide, the FDA in the United States reports there have been nine life-threatening incidents, 116 blood transfusions, and 232 hospitalizations on women there who had medical problems after using the drug.