Media Release: Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) decision to not only widely increase the availability of abortion drug RU486 but also relax previous rules for its use is deeply concerning and appears to be based on ludicrous reasoning, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said today.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that reports indicating the TGA had been persuaded by abortion provider Marie Stopes International’s claims that it is safer for a woman to terminate a pregnancy than to give birth raise serious questions about the gullibility of the TGA.

“Marie Stopes International seems to have resorted to scientifically and morally questionable arguments as a means of overcoming regulatory hurdles to get what they wanted – the ability to offer RU486 to anyone who chooses it provided they are less than nine weeks pregnant,” Mr Wallace said.

“Child birth is extremely safe in Australia, with a miniscule mortality rate. To countenance an argument that women have to have access to RU486 to save them from the dangers of childbirth is absurd.

“At a time when there is wide public concern about Australia’s high abortion rate, is it really acceptable that the administering body should prove itself so gullible and ineffective as a gatekeeper?”

Mr Wallace said that Federal Parliament’s decision in early 2006 to remove the Health Minister’s power to veto applications to use RU486 created this situation.

“The democratic process has clearly been usurped on an issue with wide social, moral and ethical dimensions. We need to bring back Ministerial responsibility into decisions about the use of abortion agents like RU486, not allow abortion clinics to dictate the agenda.

“Governments and the community also need to be providing women with unsupported pregnancies with more real choices. They need greater support to continue with their pregnancies and not to be left feeling that their only choice is which abortion option they prefer.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan