Valley MPs? opposition to RU486 in vain

By JULIA ILES

julia.iles@dailyexaminer.com.au

DESPITE opposition from local Federal MPs, the House of Representatives passed the controversial RU486 Bill yesterday, stripping the Health Minister, Tony Abbott, of his control over the controversial abortion drug.

In a rare conscience vote, MPs backed the Bill which overturns an effective ban on the drug. The power of approval over RU486 now rests with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

In Parliament on Tuesday, the Member for Page, Ian Causley, said it was premature to make a decision on the drug as no attempt to register it in Australia had been made by the drug com- pany Pfitzer.

He also argued against giving control to the TGA, calling it 'a faceless group of bureaucrats'.

"They have no responsibility to the people. I thought human life was a little bit more than the clinical, cold consideration of a faceless group of bureaucrats," Mr Causley said.

The veteran MP said he did not think any one had considered the serious psychological effects of an abortion drug.

"I have also met women who after the event have mourned that lost child for the rest of their lives. Probably not all have done so, but I know that it can have very deep psychological effects on some women."

Before yesterday's vote, the Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said: "I'll be voting no, this is a very important issue and there is not a drug like it. I think members of parliament such as the health minister should be able to use their ministerial discretion.

"I weighed up matters, looked carefully at a range of material, including potential health risks, along with my Christian beliefs to make my decision."

He said he was not aware of any previous situations where control was taken from the minister and given to the TGA.

The vote was carried on the voices ? with no official count taken because no one called for a division.



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