Melbourne Archbishop says maintain abortion drug ban

Archbishop Denis Hart has called upon legislators to maintain the ban on RU 486, insisting that Australia needs further legislation to assist women with unwanted pregnancies to find better solutions to respond to their real needs.

In a statement issued ahead of the scheduled 9 February parliamentary conscience vote on a private members' bill to overturn current laws allowing Health Minister Tony Abbott decide access to the drug, Archbishop Hart said that more choices other than abortion are needed.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported recently that the bill, sponsored by a group of female senators and MPs, would hand Mr Abbott's powers to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) - the body which controls all other drugs in Australia. A Senate committee is currently considering the bill and is due to report back to parliament the day before the vote.

Archbishop Hart said in yesterday's statement that the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion is well known.

"It originates in our belief that human life begins at conception," he said. "Statistics indicate that most Australians, regardless of religious affiliation, feel that too many abortions (about 90,000 a year), especially late term abortions, already take place."

"Extraordinarily, yet another method of abortion, the drug RU 486, is being promoted for legalisation in Australia. I totally oppose such a possibility. It is a powerful drug that produces a chemical abortion."

Archbishop Hart pointed out that the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, along with the entire Catholic Church of Australia, already provides some of these solutions.

"We want to work with Government agencies to improve such non-abortion alternatives," he said. "With one in four pregnancies in Australia ending in abortion, the abysmal fact remains that the most dangerous place for an Australian to be is in the womb of his or her mother. Simply providing more choices for abortion, like the importation and prescription of the abortion drug RU 486, is no solution at all."

Maintain the ban on the abortion drug RU486 (Archdiocese of Melbourne 24/1/05)
RU486 vote date set for nex (Sydney Morning Herald 20/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Inquiry into Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Repeal of Ministerial responsibility for approval of RU486) Bill 2005
Australians Against RU486

Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill (CathNews 13/1/06)
Catholic Health to address abortion pill inquiry (CathNews 15/12/06)

Cancer patients caught in middle of abortion pill debate (ABC TV 7:30 Report 24/1/06)
Abbott accused of acting on faith (The Courier Mail 23/1/06)
Abortion drug battle splits lobby (Sydney Morning Herald 20/1/06)
Students cite 'pitiable safety record' of abortion drug (Catholic Weekly 22/1/06)
Abortion pill inquiry may be extended (The Courier Mail 19/1/06)
Indian Bishop Appalled at Scope of Selective Abortions (Zenit 17/1/06)
Pope condemns efforts to offer abortion pill, urges family protection (Catholic News Service 12/1/06)

25 Jan 2006