For release: Wednesday 10 October 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby has renewed its call for the evidence about the harms to women of the chemical abortion drug RU486 to be considered in light of a speech being made by Health Minister Tanya Plibersek today promoting the drug.

ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis has expressed concern that both political parties are ignoring the evidence about the safety of RU486.

“It is imperative that our government take into consideration the hundreds of women who have suffered major health issues after taking this drug,” Ms Francis said.

In response to a question by Senator Boswell, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) told the Senate earlier this year that since the drug was approved under the Authorised Provider Scheme in April 2006, there had been 832 reports of “adverse events” to women prescribed the drug.

“Of the 832 women, 599 required surgery to remove the poisoned embryo after the failure of the drug to induce a miscarriage.

“In 2010, a Melbourne woman tragically died after taking RU486. We need to ensure there is a coronial investigation into this tragedy before any licences are granted.

“Women facing unsupported pregnancies should not be given a dangerous chemical to poison them and their unborn child – they should be offered real choices, including the option of support for keeping their unborn child,” Ms Francis said.

ACL is alarmed that Ms Plibersek has associated herself with the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development – the host of today’s event – which holds extreme views about aborting the disabled to save money from the disability services budget (see their submission to Senate Standing Committee, p. 10).

ACL is also concerned that the abortion debate has been dragged into the unseemly debate about sexism and misogyny in the Parliament.

“For Tony Abbott or any other person to be shut down in this debate about the health of women and life of unborn children and be labelled as ‘anti-women’ is a suppression of free debate,” Ms Francis said.