Politics: RU-486 – who should decide?

You may be aware that RU-486 is not currently legally available in Australia. What you may not be aware of is that this is because the Health Minister, Tony Abbott, currently has the ability to prevent the drug even being assessed by our Therapeutic Goods Administration.

I am, as you know, very pro-choice. But this isn’t actually about choice. To me, this is about whether we want our access to particular medicines controlled by scientists (including pharmacists and medical doctors), or by politicians.

Personally, I can quite see why some people are uncomfortable with the idea of RU-486. There may indeed be safety risks that are particular to Australia, where some of our country areas are really very remote. And there are, no doubt, ethical issues involved in any decision to terminate a pregnancy.

But safety and medical issues are best assessed by medical practitioners and research scientists.

And ethical issues associated with terminations of pregnancy are best decided by the people who will be most affected by them – women or couples, in association with anyone – doctor, clergyman, counsellor or friend – they wish to consult.

Not by a politician.

If you feel similarly, or want to make your feelings known to your Member of Parliament, go here to send an email to him or her.

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