Life Offices warn MPs of RU-486 dangers
The Sydney, Melbourne and Perth Life Offices have issued a joint fact sheet warning coalition MPs and senators of the dangers associated with the abortion drug RU-486 (Mifepristone).
The Catholic Weekly reports that they sent the fact sheet in an e-mail ahead of a conscience vote on the issue expected next year.
The four-page document outlines how the drug works, how many deaths it is reported to have caused, its dangers, the reasons they say it has been promoted in Australia and approved in the US, and what the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says about the drug.
The move also follows a statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference calling on the Government to continue the ban on the importation and prescription of RU-486.
The Life Office document says no long term studies have been carried out on the drug.
"The US FDA approved RU-486 in 2000 under pressure from Congress and the Clinton Administration," it said.
"This occurred despite warnings from researchers that adequate clinical trials had not taken place, that RU-486 did not fit the category of 'accelerated approval regulations', which were only meant to be used for life threatening diseases like AIDS and cancer."
Since its release in the US, four women have died within days of taking the pill, 17 women have had ectopic pregnancies, 72 women have experienced blood loss requiring transfusions and seven women have had serious bacterial infections, according to a US FDA statement in November last year.
Dr Brigid Vout, executive officer of the Sydney archdiocese's Life Office, says that a drug such as RU-486 which ends a new human life and endangers a woman's health is never a safe and effective solution.
"RU-486 is a chemical response to the complex problems facing a woman who is pregnant in difficult circumstances, but it is not the solution," she said.
The bishops' statement said research showed nearly three quarters of Australians think the abortion rate is "far too high".
"That the question of abortion keeps surfacing in Australia reflects the deep unease in our community about the fact that one in four pregnancies ends in abortion," they said.
The New York Times reports that after the recent deaths in the US, the FDA has decided to review its guidelines on the drug.
The Australian Life Offices say that just as the US is reviewing the use of RU-486 over safety concerns, the drug's advocates are attempting to pressure the Australian Government into lifting its ban.
Life Offices warn MPs of RU-486 dangers (Catholic Weekly 4/12/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Fifty babies a year are alive after abortion, shows extreme and cruel situation abortion leads to (Catholic News Agency 30/11/05)
RU486 - part of the disease, not part of the cure (Catholic Weekly 4/12/05)
31 Dec 2005