image: Daily Flute
Health Minister Tony Abbott, through his wish to deny Australian women the ability to access RU486, apparently desires to increase harm to women who elect to terminate a pregnancy. The sole other option for pregnancy termination is surgery. Anaesthesia and invasive surgical procedures bear their own risks, notably lethal reactions to anaesthesia and ‘golden’ staph infections, those which are resistant to antibiotic treatment, which are most commonly found in medical environments.
RU486 is not a magic ‘un-pregnant’ pill. Undesired side effects include vaginal bleeding for up to 60 days as well as other complications normally associated with spontaneous miscarriage. However, using RU486 is less problematic compared to spontaneous miscarriage. Undesired side effects from use of RU486 occur in 5% of cases, where spontaneous miscarriage occurs in 16% of all pregnancies.
These considerations are all aside from the common wisdom that it should, without question, take more than one person to be in charge of approval of medications in a country of more than 20 million people. Those in control of approval of medications should certainly professionally specialise in pharmacological research- instead of professional politics. Abbott’s objection that unelected public servants, albeit those trained in statistics and pharmacology, are less desirable as the appropriate parties to approve new medications, is both spurious and self-serving.
I’d sooner trust my next knee surgery to a guy with a chainsaw and good intentions.
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