Portal:Australia/RU486 (abortion pill) debate

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This article contains an overview of Wikinews Australia coverage for a particular issue. For other issues, see in-depth coverage.

Here is how Wikipedia summarises the RU486 abortion pill debate:

In late 2005, Australian Democrats introduced an amendment to the Australian Senate to remove this statutory provision and transfer the power of approval to the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The move caused much debate in the Australian media and amongst politicians. In addition to the Democrats, the Bill attracted public support from the Australian Greens and several individual members of the Labor, Liberal and National parties. Neither the Labor Opposition nor the Coalition parties took a party stand in favour or in opposition of the Bill and allowed for a conscience vote. The Family First Party and Coalition Senators Barnaby Joyce, Bill Heffernan and Ron Boswell signalled their strong opposition. The Health Minister Tony Abbott, a pro-lifer, was targetted by supporters of the amendment.
The Bill has passed the Australian Senate[1] on 10 February 2006, causing Minister Abbott to label it a no confidence vote in him and the Government[2]. The Australian House of Representatives has considered the bill, and two amendments proposed during the debate, rejecting the both of them, and passing the bill unamended. If approved by the TGA, the availability of the drug may be assisted with listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Wikinews Australia coverage[edit]

January 18, 2006[edit]

The Australian Senate has been flooded with submissions into an inquiry about the possible use of the abortion drug Mifepristone (known as RU486) in Australia. The senate committee is to consider a private members bill, introduced by a group of female senators and MPs to strip the Australian health minister of his control over the drug. If successful, the drug would then have to be approved by the Threrapeutic Goods Administration before it would be allowed to be used in Australia.

February 3, 2006[edit]

An Australian Senate inquiry into the abortion pill "RU486" has started public hearings in Melbourne. A controversial conscience vote on the issue to overturn laws which prohibit Australian women's access to the drug, will be held in Federal parliament on February 9. The Senate committee is considering a bill to remove ministerial control of the abortifacient drug Mifepristone - or RU486. Health Minister Tony Abbott says the issue of whether to allow women access to the drug "is one of principle." Abbott, who is against abortion, insists he is the right person to control the drug's use in Australia.

February 8, 2006[edit]

The looming debate on whether the Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott or the Theraputic Goods Administration (TGA) should regulate mifepristone, RU486, has entered the Australian Senate, February 8. A free vote is due to be conducted on this issue. The first speakers have been all women speaking in support of passing control from the Health Minister to the TGA: Australian National Party Senator Fiona Nash, Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Ellison, Australian Labor Party Senator Claire Moore. They have drawn attention to the fact that abortion is already legal in Australia, the inappropriateness of a Parliament minister to regulate a single drug versus a scientific and independent body, and if RU486 is an unsafe drug then the TGA will not approve the drug.

February 15, 2006[edit]

The ongoing debate over whether the Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott, or the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulate the abortifacient mifepristone (RU486) has complicated with a number of members proposing amendments to the Senate bill, now in the House of Representatives. Jackie Kelly (Australian Liberal Party, Lindsay) has said that "There should be a transparent process in which the minister is accountable for his or her decision" on so-called restricted goods (of which RU486 is such a good) as listed in the TGA legislation. Kelly has proposed an amendment with points stating that "the Minister for Health and Ageing continuing to have the decision making role in relation to the approval of restricted goods...", "the Minister being required to obtain written advice from the Therapeutic Goods Administration prior to giving written approval or refusal to approve", "the Minister's decision being subject to disallowance".

February 16, 2006[edit]

The Australian House of Representatives have considered the bill regarding whether the Australian Health Minister Tony Abbott, or the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulate the abortifacient mifepristone (RU486), and has passed the bill unamended. Earlier today, the Prime Minister John Howard (Australian Liberal Party, Bennelong) has spoken on the amendments earlier proposed by Jackie Kelly (Liberal, Lindsay) and Andrew Laming (Liberal, Bowman), speaking in favour of the Laming amendments and reiterating his support for Abbott, stating that he is the "best friend that Medicare ever had", Abbott's usual phrase he states in Question Time in support of the Government's handling of Medicare.