Catholic GPs ready to quit over RU-486

More than 200 Catholic doctors in Queensland, all members of the Guild of St Luke, are set to resign from the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners over RU-486.

The Courier-Mail reports that Guild president, Dr Terrence Kent, a Brisbane GP, said the group which is meeting on Sunday "will be recommending that members resign from both the AMA and the RACGP due to lack of consultation with members of these two groups on their decisions to support removing authority for approving RU-486 from the Health Minister and giving it to the TGA."

Two doctors have already resigned from the AMA, which has more than 5670 members in Queensland.

"Not only does RU-486 always result in the death of an innocent human being, complications including maternal death make it totally unacceptable," Dr Kent said.

"The horrific experience that doctors would inflict on young women by giving them this pill to take would be most traumatic to the patients we are supposed to be caring for. They would take the pill then wait several days for the process to be completed with concomitant pain, bleeding and passage of a dead embryo. Surely this would be psychologically damaging and a totally undesirable experience."

In her letter of resignation to the AMA, Dr Belinda Goodwin said she no longer wanted to be represented by an organisation whose national president, Dr Mukesh Haikerwal, told the Senate Committee regarding RU-486 that "it is certainly far safer to terminate a pregnancy with RU-486 than to take the pregnancy to term".

She said the comments were "outrageous and send the wrong message to women".

Next Monday, the Medical Journal of Australia, the AMA's publication, will carry a long letter by Toowoomba GP Dr David van Gend, arguing against the AMA's position on RU-486.

Dr van Gend, who is Queensland secretary of the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life and who is not a Catholic, said yesterday he would not be resigning from the AMA but would be fighting for the organisation's return to its traditional position on abortion.

"RU-486 is unique among medical drugs as it takes life," Dr van Gend said. "The AMA should once again make clear that they do not advocate abortion on demand for rhetorical reasons of "increasing choice" as AMA president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal says but for valid reasons of tragic medical necessity.

"Only elected representatives should decide on complex social issues like this."

AMA federal president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal urged the guild members to consider their position carefully.

Catholic GPs set to quit over RU-486 (The Courier Mail 3/2/06)

Life Office criticises advertiser's gag on abortion debate (CathNews 1/2/06)
Churches lead RU406 protest (CathNews 30/1/06)
Day of action to fight abortion drug move (CathNes 27/1/06)
Melbourne Archbishop says maintain abortion drug ban (CathNews 25/1/06)
Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill (CathNews 13/1/06)
Catholic Health to address abortion pill inquiry (CathNews 15/12/06)

Australia Pro-Life Catholic Doctors May Quit AMA Over Abortion Drug (Lifenews.com 2/2/06)
Pill 'dysfunctional' (Catholic Leader 3/2/06)
Polley defies pill majority (The Mercury 3/2/06)
Keep ban on killer drug - parishes speak out (Catholic Weekly 5/2/06)
Women demand tougher laws to curb abortions (The Observer 29/1/06)

3 Feb 2006