Claims that over-the-phone abortion services are ‘safe and effective’ by abortion advocate, Tabbot Foundation, glosses over women’s negative experiences of the abortion drug RU486, warns the Australian Christian Lobby.

“It is difficult to understand how the review by the abortion advocate, based on a survey of 1,000 women who called their hotline, paints such an upbeat assessment when only 82 per cent confirmed a ‘normal’ termination,” ACL spokesperson for women, Wendy Francis said.

“The review says that 15 per cent of the women who took RU486 couldn’t be contacted for follow up – what sort of success rate is that and how can the Tabbot Foundation vouch for the safety and wellbeing of these women?

“It is irresponsible to think a phone call provides adequate protections for women using the abortion drug. There is limited ability to properly assess whether the woman is distressed, being coerced or has been sexually abused over the phone,” she said.

“Considering recent scandals where women were pressured by NRL players to have an abortion, more support for women, not less, is clearly required.

“By making the chemical RU 486 available over the phone, medical complications such as retained foetal tissue, excessive bleeding and even death are ignored.

“What about the two per cent of women who, according to this review, still had parts of the baby in their womb after taking the drug, or the 0.6 per cent of pregnancies where the baby remained in the body?

“The RU486 abortion drug is anything but ‘safe and effective’.

“By its own admission, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which has oversight over the use of the RU486 drug, says the RU486 fails around seven per cent, requiring surgical intervention.(page 52)

“Most of the serious RU486 complications are related to ‘incomplete abortion’, when parts of the placenta or baby parts have not been expelled following the RU486 abortion,” Ms Francis said.

“Severe bleeding or infection may result from retained placental or baby parts. In such occurrences, urgent surgical intervention is necessary.

“This is the real reality experienced by far too many women who use the RU486 abortion drug behind closed doors in bathrooms and toilets across Australia.”