With the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee expected to recommend today that RU486 and Misoprostol be listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (the PBS) Australian Greens are calling on Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek to move quickly to ensure Australian women have access to affordable medical abortion.
Background paper on the issue available here: http://tiny.cc/al93vw
"Listing medical abortion on the PBS is long overdue and one of the last important steps in the history of giving Australian women equal access to this safe and effective termination option," Senator Rhiannon said.
"The Health Minister must hurry to make it hard for a potential Abbott government, with conservative views on women's reproductive rights, to scuttle the initiative.
"A PBS listing will improve regional and rural women's access to safe services, reducing delay and the stresses and additional costs of travelling for termination.
"For almost two decades road blocks have been thrown in the way of giving Australian women the same access to affordable medical abortion as available in around 50 nations around the world."
"The World Health Organisation lists medical abortion pharmaceuticals as an 'essential medicine' and the Therapeutic Goods Association has given the tick to their efficacy, safety and quality," said Dr Di Natale.
"PBS listing is the obvious next step and politicians should not stand in the way.
"The average time taken from a positive recommendation that a drug be listed on the PBS to listing is four and a half months."
"Abortion is never an easy decision but the reality is that 81 percent of Australians support a women's right to choose and one in three women have one in their lifetime," said Senator Rhiannon.
"The path is now clear for women on low incomes and those living in rural and remote areas who face a problem pregnancy to have the same choice of method as women living in cities.