Australia Practitioner Will Stop Selling Dangerous Abortion Drug After Prosecution

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 2, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Australia Practitioner Will Stop Selling Dangerous Abortion Drug After Prosecution

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 2
, 2009

Cairns, Australia ( — Australia abortion practitioner Caroline de Costa will stop selling the dangerous abortion drug has that killed more than a dozen women worldwide and injured more than 1,300 in the United States alone. Her decision follows the prosecution of a teenager who smuggled the drug into the country.

Cairns started selling the mifepristone (RU 486) abortion drug in 2006 and was the first in the nation to do so.

Then, in April, 19-year-old Tegan Simone Leach became the first to be charged under Queensland’s laws making abortion illegal in 50 years.

The teenager and her partner will go to court this month in a case involving charges against them for smuggling the dangerous abortion drug into the country because it is not available in her part of Australia.

Yesterday, de Costa told the Courier-Mail newspaper that her attorneys told her it would be a good idea for her to stop dispensing the dangerous drug.

"Our understanding is that we and other doctors practicing medical abortion in Queensland are at risk of criminal prosecution," she said. "It is not only doctors who offer medical abortion but also our patients who are at risk."

"I don’t want to risk 14 years in jail and I certainly don’t want to put a patient in that same position," she told the newspaper.

De Costa told the Courier Mail that she and fellow abortion practitioner Michael Carrette attempted to get a legal clarification on whether they can still legally dispense the abortion drug and received no response.

"We’ve approached the Attorney-General and Premier seeking clarification and reassurance but they’ve given us no response," she said. "We want to know that we and our patients won’t be charged criminally."

In 2006, the Australian Parliament voted to remove the authority from Health Minister Tony Abbott to stop the allowance of the abortion drug in Australia. The parliament then went on to approve use of the abortion drug and de Costa submitted an application to be the first to give it to pregnant women.

Leach and her partner face up to 14 years in prison on the charges of smuggling the abortion drug into Australia, where it is only legal if dispensed by pre-approved abortion practitioners. They allegedly obtained the abortion drug from a physician in the Ukraine.

The couple is expected to appear on June 11 in Cairns Magistrate’s Court and will tell the judge that they thought they were too young to carry the baby to term and become parents.

They reportedly did not ask about legal abortion options or abortion alternatives.

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