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RU486 decision a step forward for affordable, accessible abortion

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 30 Aug 2012

Greens Senator and spokesperson for women Lee Rhiannon has congratulated Marie Stopes International for achieving a breakthrough in availability for the 'abortion drug' RU486, following news that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) today approved an application to import the drug into Australia.

"This decision will break down barriers women face to accessing RU486, especially women on low-incomes and those living in regional areas," said Senator Rhiannon.

"With the very real possibility of an Abbott government on the horizon, it is important to secure wins like this before the next election.

"I congratulate Marie Stopes International for their success in making RU486 more available, overcoming the lack of interest from large pharmaceutical companies in importing the drug.

"RU486 has been available in Australia since 2006 but many women have not been able to afford the drug and less than 200 doctors throughout Australia were authorise to prescribe it.

"No woman makes the decision to terminate a pregnancy lightly and all women should have equality of choice and access when faced with the difficult decision.

"The World Health Organisation considers RU486 to be one of the safest and cheapest forms of termination. 

"A 2003 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes found 81 percent of people surveyed believed a woman should have the right to choose whether or not she has an abortion. This large majority was repeated in a Queensland Auspoll survey in 2009.

"I pay tribute to the cross-party MPs, Claire Moore, Fiona Nash, Lyn Allison, Judith Troeth and Kerry Nettle, who in 2006 wrested then Health Minister Tony's Abbott's right of veto over RU486 and transferred control to the TGA," said Senator Rhiannon.


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