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RU486 – Time to write to Annette, Bob, or Gary

By johnboy - 10 February 2006 101

Some of you might have noticed a lot of media noise over something called RU486.

There is a lot of heat and smoke, but not much light on this subject but in essence it boils down pretty simply.

There is one drug in all the world which the Minister for Health approves rather than the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This drug is RU486 and one of its uses is to make terminating a pregnancy a less painful and dangerous for women.

Last night, in the Senate, a Bill was passed which will do nothing more than make the approval of this drug a matter for the TGA. The lawfulness of the procedures it might be put to is a matter for the States, the fitness of the drug for use would then be for the experts in this field, and its specific use a matter for doctors.

Unusually in Australia, this Bill is subject to a conscience vote, so for once what voters think about an issue will bear upon our representatives.

UPDATED: Over on Crazybrave, local blogger Zoe has some worthwhile things to say on the issue.

A startling number of sadists in our community want abortion to be as painful and humiliating as possible in the hope of enforcing their own personal moral codes on others.

(Don’t get me wrong, I can see both sides of the abortion debate. This here debate is about whether government chooses to make abortions more dangerous, painful and humiliating than they need to be.)

Those sadists are putting ferocious amounts of pressure on members of Parliament and now that the Bill is out of the insulated Senate and into the Representatives who are individually accountable to constituents that pressure is going to go sky high.

Already we have cardboard coffins and pictures of foetuses filling Parliament House, incredibly misleading and offensive full page ads in the newspapers, and a whirlwind of media releases from an alphabet soup of previously unknown organisations.

When the crazies roam the land the moderates need to get active.

Just yesterday, in the Senate, the ACT’s Gary Humphries voted for painful abortions (by way of ministerial veto) while our Senator Lundy voted to allow professionals to explore alternatives.

Our local members are going to be hearing in the next week from any number of the crazies threatening thousands of votes lost to them if they vote to normalise the RU486 approval process.

So if you’re one of the sensible centre who don’t believe in punishing women who feel the need to terminate a pregnancy, now is a good time to write to your local member.

So here are the addresses, remember folks a hand written letter is worth a hundred emails, you’ll need to get them off today to have any effect:

Annette Ellis MP
205 Anketell Street
Tuggeranong ACT 2900

Bob McMullan MP
GPO Box 1947
ACT 2601

Gary Nairn MP
Shop 16, Citylink Plaza
24-36 Morisset St
Queanbeyan NSW 2620

Here’s a simple enough form of words:

Dear [insert name]

I am a voter in your electorate and I support the normalisation of the approval process for RU486.


[Sign here]
[Print name]

What’s Your opinion?

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101 Responses to
RU486 – Time to write to Annette, Bob, or Gary
johnboy 11:59 am 10 Feb 06

Yep vittens, no question the procedure needs to be carefully assessed by experts.

I just don’t see why this, and only this, drug stands alone in the law as being subject to a ministerial veto.

Actually I can think of one reason, to try and stifle innovation in the area. I think that is punitive and wrong.

Thumper, I hope you’re writing your letter to the MP’s who’re next on the block.

vittens 11:55 am 10 Feb 06

From what the poeple who make the drug say I think Rose might be correct. Pfizer, the company which manufactures Cytotec, the second drug used in an RU486 abortion to cause contractions to expel the dead baby, has warned that the drug is not endorsed for this purpose and its safety cannot be guaranteed.

In a letter to doctors the company has warned that Cytotec is not approved for the induction of labor or abortion. Serious adverse events reported following off-label use of Cytotec in pregnant women include maternal or fetal death; uterine hyperstimulation, rupture or perforation requiring uterine surgical repair, hysterectomy or salpingo-oophorectomy; amniotic fluid embolism; severe vaginal bleeding, retained placenta, shock, fetal bradycardia and pelvic pain.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists states that there has not been sufficient research on misoprostol use in this context to rule out low risks of serious adverse events.

Cytotec has been associated with fetal malformations including skull defects, cranial nerve palsies, facial malformations, and limb defects.

Thumper 11:53 am 10 Feb 06

I’ve already posted my views so I won’t post them again needless to say that I support the use of the drug over surgery.

Abortion is a fact and no matter what rapid anti abortionist say, it will happen no matter what.

Women deserve better from our elected officials. I’ve already sent an email to the Bearded One who I may add is not one of my most favourite people.

rose 11:42 am 10 Feb 06

I don’t know how physically painful a surgical abortion is compared with an RU486, but apparently an RU486 abortion can be severely painful, requiring strong painkillers. I don’t suppose abortion could ever be pleasant. The TGA should decide.

johnboy 11:40 am 10 Feb 06

I don’t have much time for things that don’t work, still less noisy things that don’t work.

But noisy things that don’t work which distract attention from things that do work?

That’s downright dangerous.

Go add a number to the Get Up petition by all means.

Just saying the written letter posted today is the best thing you can do and no online petition is its equal.

In my view the VSU campaign created a scheme far more harmful to students than an intelligent compromise would have, and was an utter failure by any measure (except possibly raising the emdia profile of some student leaders).

So why do you want to go back that way again?

Jey 11:35 am 10 Feb 06

It was a genuine enquiry JB, not an argumentative challenge.

johnboy 11:29 am 10 Feb 06

Also remember GetUp are consciously modelling themselves on the “success” of the american “move on” website.

Last I checked W was still President so maybe you want to look at other models?

johnboy 11:25 am 10 Feb 06

Yeah, ‘cos the VSU thing worked out so well.

Are you trying to give yourself a warm fuzzy or to actually achieve a goal?

Jey 11:24 am 10 Feb 06

ahh ok
how are they ineffectual?
The National Union of Students has used them for their VSU campaigns so I trusted their choice.
oh well, live and learn

johnboy 11:22 am 10 Feb 06

Want to make a difference? spend the money on an envelope and a stamp.

Get Up are ineffectual wankers, I’d advise against using them as a proxy.

You want to reach your local member, not be part of a number quoted (if you’re lucky) on the ABC/

Jey 11:19 am 10 Feb 06

Rather send an email?
You can do so here:

johnboy 10:21 am 10 Feb 06

It’s not a Tony issue.

It’s a question of why this drug alone is within his, or any other Health Minister’s discretion.

Slinky the Shocker 10:08 am 10 Feb 06

What, you don’t trust Tony in issues of birth-control and pregnancy?

johnboy 9:53 am 10 Feb 06

and even if it WAS dangerous that judgment is a job for the TGA and the doctors.

colsim 9:52 am 10 Feb 06

Quick stat that I read yesterday – 11 recorded deaths of women from RU486 out of more than 12 Million uses.

Far safer than surgery.

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