Australia Insurance Company Won’t Cover Doctors Who Dispense Abortion Drug
by Steven Ertelt
August 27, 2009
Brisbane, Australia (LifeNews.com) — An insurance company in Australia says it will not cover abortion practitioners who give out the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug because giving the pills out may not be legal. The Australian state of Queensland is in a legal debate over whether it should make such abortions officially legal.
Hospitals in the Australian state of Queensland are stopping abortions as doctors react to resistance from the state government to modify its abortion law.
Although Premier Anna Bligh has tried to assure physicians, they are concerned that the state government will not officially legalize abortions using the mifepristone pill..
Although surgical abortions are allowed, abortion using drugs remains technically illegal and doctors who want to do abortions are concerned they may face prosecution.
Knowing that, Avant Law’s Queensland manager, Harry McCay, told The Australian that doctors would not be covered.
"It’s a general principle of insurance policy that criminal actions are not covered," McCay said. "If doctors are prosecuted and if a conviction is imposed, that would have consequences for medical indemnity. That’s not to say that would ever occur or is likely to occur, but it is an issue doctors are concerned about, and rightly so."
Meanwhile, Queensland Health has refused to say whether the Queensland Government Insurance Fund would cover physicians who do drug-induced abortions in public hospitals.
"The indemnity insurance is designed to cover clinicians who are acting within the law," a spokesman told the newspaper.
The state cabinet has agreed to amend section 282 of the Queensland Criminal Code to allow abortions and the dissemination of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, which has killed 13 women worldwide and injured tens of thousands more.
However, doctors say that isn’t enough and public hospitals in Rockhampton and Mackay have reportedly joined Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital in suspending abortions. The Australian says Cairns Base Hospital is also reviewing whether or not to stop doing abortions.
"They can tinker all they like with section 282 but it does not withdraw the threat of criminal prosecutions," Ted Weaver, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told the newspaper. "That is really the bottom line here: we would like doctors to be able to practice without the threat subsequently of having criminal charges laid against them."
The newspaper indicates the hospitals are referring women to other states for abortions and one woman traveled to Sydney to have one.
Bligh ruled out the extensive reform of the abortion law they seek.
"None of the parts of the criminal code that relate to termination of pregnancy will be changed by the government," Bligh said, according to the paper.
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