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Media release

Expansion of abortion drug RU-486 “not simply a medical issue”

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney

Media Release

Expansion of abortion drug RU-486 "not simply a medical issue"

The decision by the Therapeutic Goods Association to drastically expand the availability of abortion drug RU 486 has been taken without adequate safeguards for vulnerable women and consideration of the welfare and moral issues involved.

MS-2 Step (Mifepristone and Misoprostol), also known as RU-486, has been available in Australia since 2012, but those prescribing and dispensing it had to be trained and certified.

The TGA has removed the requirement for special training and certification, and it will now be more easily available through general practitioners, nurse practitioners and pharmacists.

According to the Royal Australian College of GPs, the abortion drug would now be treated ‘just like any other medicine’.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel and the Venerable Kara Hartley, Archdeacon for Women’s Ministry, have expressed serious concern about the ramifications of the TGA decision, saying the availability of such a drug is not simply a medical issue.

“The whole point of the previous safeguards around this drug was that it has a serious moral dimension,” Archbishop Kanishka Raffel said. “The impact of allowing self-administration of medication which terminates the life of an unborn child up to 9 weeks of gestation is profound.”

“The rhetoric around this issue has been focussed on access rather than the impacts of abortion. Women are often unprepared for the physical and psychological impact of terminating their own pregnancy and without sufficient counselling are unprepared for the confronting experience of delivering a dead foetus at home. The effects can be traumatic. This is quite apart from the moral and spiritual dimensions of abortion, routinely ignored or dismissed in public discourse. Christians and people of many faiths recognise that abortion is a violation of the sanctity of life. This decision will be lamented by many.”

“While we recognise that some disagree with our stand against abortion, surely there is widespread recognition of the need to provide adequate support for women who will have to face the consequences of an abortion in their own homes.”

“The previous requirements ensured that medical practitioners prescribing RU 486 were sufficiently trained and certified for this purpose. That vital safeguard has now been removed.”

A key argument for this liberalisation has been a lack of access to abortions for women in regional and remote areas. However, removing safeguards makes it more dangerous for women in these locations who are unable to access support services including hospitalisation in the event of complications.”

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel and Archdeacon Kara Hartley

13 July 2023

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