A bill regulating abortions was passed convincingly in the Texas lower house last Wednesday by 96-49 votes, and on Friday passed in the Senate 19 votes to 11. This comes after it failed to pass last month because of a filibuster and angry protests by pro-abortion activists. The passing of the bill now makes Texas one of the safest places for unborn babies and their mothers.
The new laws mean that:
a) Most abortions on unborn children will be banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy, at which point scientific evidence shows babies can feel pain. An exception to this ban is granted when it is to protect the life and medical health of the mother or when the child has a "severe fetal abnormality."
b) Safety standards at Texas abortion clinics will increase to the level of ambulatory surgical centres (ASCs), of which there are 420 in Texas, including six that conduct abortions. This would treat abortion facilities in the same manner as other ambulatory care facilities.
c) Doctors who perform abortions will have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic to treat life-threatening complications after botched abortions.
d) A woman's access to abortion-inducing pills will be limited by requiring the 18,000 RU-486 abortions performed each year in the state be conducted according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety standards.
This ensures a physician has greater oversight over their administration, improving safety for the mother. In the US, eight women have died from bacterial infections following an RU-486 chemical abortion administered to an off-label protocol. No women have died from such infections when following the FDA-approved protocol.
Whilst it would have been ideal if the law changes had gone further, the Texas measures at least acknowledge the dangers to women of the R-486 drug and seek to redress this to some extent.
The regulation of abortion clinics as outlined in the new laws is a measure that would effectively make them safer by allowing, for instance, for medical transportation in the event of emergencies. A woman who went to convicted US abortionist Kermit Gosnell for the procedure died after her heart stopped beating on the operating table. Her life may have been saved if the doors of Gosnell's clinic had not been locked and the hallways were wide enough to facilitate the gurney needed to transport her to a hospital by ambulance.
The Texas abortion law reform follows similar changes in the state of Virginia earlier this year which, passed regulations to strictly monitor abortion clinics and ensure abortion providers meet the latest standards set for newly constructed hospitals.
While pro-abortion activists claim that the new laws would force most abortion clinics across the state to shut, those in support of the new legislation argue that the bill is necessary to ensure women’s health is protected and foetuses are kept from feeling pain.
A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll shows 59 per cent of Americans would favour a federal law banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and almost half believe abortion to be morally wrong.
Keynote speakers include:
- Dr. Priscilla Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, USA
- Dr. Andre Schultz, Paediatrician and Respiratory Physician at Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, and Clinical Senior Lecturer at the School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia
Both will present the evidence of harm from abortion, specifically related to pre-term birth, mental health and the use of the abortion pill RU486.
Early bird registrations are now open.
The event will be held in Melbourne on Friday 11 October from 9am - 4pm.
For more information and to register, please visit the Real Choices Australia website.
Friday, 26th April 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has urged the government to reject the recommendation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) to publically fund abortion drug RU486.
ACL spokesperson Wendy Francis said subsidising the controversial drug - a recommendation likely to be made by PBAC today - ignores the human rights of the unborn and the adverse effects this chemical has on women.
“ACL calls on the Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, to reject the advice of PBAC. It is the duty of our government to protect the most vulnerable, and to protect women from potential harm. Subsidising RU486 does the exact opposite,” she said.
“Taxpayer funding of this means everyone who does not support abortion has their freedom of conscience trampled upon by making them complicit in abortion.
“The government should not force those who do not agree with abortion to help pay for it. There are question marks over the health impacts on women.
“Let’s not forget that in 2010, a Melbourne woman tragically died from infection after taking RU486.
“The Therapeutic Goods Administration told the Senate last year that since 2006 there had been 832 adverse impacts on women as a result of RU486 with 599 of these women requiring surgery to remove a poisoned embryo,” she said.
It is understood that this represents about five per cent of cases of the drug use.
“Women facing unsupported pregnancies should be offered real support – not a chemical which is harmful to both them and their unborn child,” Ms Francis said.
It’s understood public funding of the drug would make it available for around $12, much less than the current cost of $300.
The drug was approved in 2006, and the Therapeutic Drugs Administration (TGA) last year approved its importation into Australia.
For release: Friday, February 1, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has called on the government not to subsidise the chemical abortion drug RU486.
It was confirmed this week that a meeting of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Commission in March would determine whether to publically fund RU486. This would make the drug available for around $12, much less than the current cost of $300.
The drug was approved in 2006, and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) last year approved the importation of the drug by MS Health, a subsidiary of Marie Stopes International, the group now pushing for public funding.
ACL’s spokesperson Wendy Francis is concerned that the government is ignoring the rights of the unborn, as well as the mental health consequences of abortion for women.
“RU 486 is just another way of aborting babies. Ms Plibersek’s comments welcoming public funding and a wider availability of this abortion-inducing drug are deeply concerning,” Ms Francis said.
“Last year, Ms Plibersek made a speech at an event held by the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, a group holding extreme views about aborting the disabled to save money from the disability services budget,” Ms Francis said.
Not only is the ACL opposed to RU486 because it destroys an innocent life, it is also opposed on the grounds of its potential harm to women.
“Studies into the effects of the abortion pill show that it is a more dangerous option than a surgical abortion. Let’s not forget that in 2010, a Melbourne woman tragically died after taking RU486,” Ms Francis said.
In 2011, The Australian newspaper published an article focused on a study confirming the harmful effects of the drug. In addition, the TGA said in response to Senate Estimates questions that there had been over 800 “adverse events” since the approval of the drug, including nearly 600 which required surgery to remove the poisoned embryo after the drug had failed to induce a miscarriage.
“Women facing unwanted pregnancies should be offered real support – not a chemical which is harmful both to them and their unborn child,” Ms Francis said.
For release: Friday, October 19, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is calling on the Northern Territory (NT) government to reject legalising the chemical abortion pill RU486 because of the dangerous health risks it poses to women and unborn babies.
ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis has expressed concern that those pushing for RU 486 in the Territory have not considered the health impacts.
“I encourage the NT government to consider the response of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to the Senate on the harm it has already caused to hundreds of women before it makes a judgement on whether to legalise the pill,” Ms Francis said.
In response to a question by Queensland Senator Ron Boswell during Senate Estimates earlier this year, the TGA said 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.
Ms Francis said tragically Australia had now recorded its first death of a woman who had been prescribed RU 486.
“Amazingly there has been no coronial investigation into this death and the NT Government should make no consideration to legalise the pill until this has occurred,” Ms Francis said.
“Women facing unsupported pregnancies should not be given a dangerous chemical to poison their unborn child and perhaps them – they should be offered real choices, including the option of support for keeping their unborn child,” Ms Francis said.
MR: Dangerous effects of RU486 being ignored by Parliament as those advocating for right to life labelled ‘anti-women’
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.
For release: Thursday, August 30, 2012
The granting of a licence to import the chemical abortion drug RU 486 to a subsidiary of the world’s biggest abortion provider is not in the best interest of women, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis said the Therapeutic Goods Administration had seriously erred in granting a licence to Marie Stopes International to import RU 486.
Ms Francis said the TGA had recently told Senate Estimates, in response to a question from Queensland Senator Ron Boswell, that it did not collect information about RU 486 related deaths overseas.
The TGA also told the Senate, in response to a further question from Senator Boswell, 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 these, 599 required surgery to remove the poisoned embryo after the failure of the drug to induce a miscarriage.
“It is quite offensive that RU 486 is referred to as a medicine in some quarters. Pregnancy is not a disease and should not be stigmatised as such,” Ms Francis said.
This year it was revealed that a Melbourne woman had died in 2010 after RU 486.
“There should be a coronial investigation into this tragedy before any further licences are granted.
“Women facing un-supported pregnancy should be offered real choices by our society, not a dangerous chemical to poison their un-born child.
“As a society we do very poorly in promoting alternatives to women beyond chemical or surgical abortion and this is a tragedy for women and unborn babies,” Ms Francis said.
Mifepristone, or RU486, became available in 2006 amidst a great deal of controversy. Aside from the expected pro-choice and pro-life arguments, much of the controversy surrounded the safety of the pill. Proponents argued that it was a safe and efficient means of abortion with the added advantages of easy access and privacy. Opponents rejected the arguments that it was safe and some argued that the risks associated were actually higher.
The study, reported in The Australian on the weekend, found that the pill poses significantly more problems than does a traditional surgical operation. According to the report, among those women who were “recipients of early ‘medical’ abortions”, 5.7 per cent were admitted to hospital as a result of using the drugs, compared with 0.4 per cent of surgical patients who were re-admitted for treatment after their abortion.
Emergency treatment was also higher, with 3.3 per cent of RU486 users being admitted at emergency department compared with 2.2 per cent of those who had surgical abortions.
While the Australian Christian Lobby opposes abortion in any form because it destroys an innocent life, it opposed the broader legalisation of RU486 on the grounds of its potential harm to women. This study confirms the concerns voiced by opponents of the pill that RU486 is not only harmful to the unborn child but to the mother as well.
ACL spokeswoman for women’s issues Michelle Pearse said “the general population actually fails to acknowledge the reality of what abortion actually is; it's an induced miscarriage, and miscarriages are often painful”. The RU486 pill simply induces miscarriage by means of a drug rather than by surgery. “It's not a drug that helps to reduce pain or to solve a problem,” says Ms Pearse, “but it's a drug that is used to cause a miscarriage, which will involve pain and bleeding”.
According to this article from LifeSiteNews.com, the RU486 can even be fatal, with six women in the USA dying of complications from medical abortions. The Italian Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics has also reported 16 deaths as a result of the pill.
Data released by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to Tasmanian Liberal Senator Guy Barnett show use of RU486 soared in the second half of last year after a national chain of day clinics was licensed to use it. Terminations using RU486 rose from none to 1154 between July and December in New South Wales, four to 323 in Queensland, and 42 to 412 in Victoria.
The data also reveal that in 14 Australian cases the drug, also known as mifepristone and mostly used with another drug, misoprostol, failed, and the termination had to be completed surgically. An additional 110 cases with “adverse effects” were reported. Reported complications involved retention of placenta remains and other “products of conception”.
In the four years since the contentious conscience vote in the Federal Parliament to remove the Health Minister’s ability to override the importation of RU486, more than 3000 abortions have been performed in Australia using the drug.
Obstetrician Caroline de Costa, who was prominent in the campaign to allow the use of RU486 in Australia, naturally downplayed the number of RU486 abortion complications, saying it was consistent with overseas figures.
The TGA data show that, as expressed during the heated parliamentary debate over RU486, it is not a safe option for women, and it puts at greater risk the lives of society’s most vulnerable and innocent people – its unborn.
Click here for a media article.