Saturday, February 11, 2006


In Australia, which drugs are available for use is decided by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). That's every single drug. Except one specific category. The exception is abortifacients and specifically RU486, used for abortions and available widely overseas.

In this case, whether this drug is available or not is decided by one person, health minister Tony Abbott. Mr Abbott, a male conservative Christian (not that Eor would ever imply that had anything to do with the decision) has decided the drug should be banned. Mr Abbott's arguments seem to consist of two main points, and he has recently been doing the talkback radio circuit spruiking his views: that the TGA is a group of unelected people, unlike himself; and that RU-486 is not a therapeutic drug, but a drug designed to kill babies.

EoR wonders how one untrained individual is able to make a more sensible, informed decision than a group of experts, elected or not (and if decisions made by unelected people are such anathema, why doesn't Mr Abbott get rid of the Civil Aviation Authority, the Judicial system, the Public Service, the Police etc etc?).

Of course, the second argument ("Baby killers!") is a fundamentalist catholic catch cry, and is at odds with mainstream Australia. One report on the radio this morning suggested that over 90% of Australians support abortion (which is legal here). Whether it's "baby killing" or "aborting a foetus", women will still have abortions. The point here is what options they have available should they choose that path. Mr Abbott is forcing his minority opinion on the majority. Now there's elected representation for you. EoR also can't help pointing out the similarities between his stance and that of certain Muslims Against Cartoonists: fundamentalism, religion and rigidity. God tells Mr Abbot abortion is evil. God decides policy.

A private member's bill has been introduced to Parliament to overturn this anomalous authority. It passed the Senate by 17 votes, but also needs to be passed by the House of Representatives. It's expected to be read there sometime next week, and also expected to be rejected because of the government's numbers.

Australia's conservative government: leading the country back to the Middle Ages.

1 comment:

  1. Tony Abbott's perverse consolation for not having banned abortion is to make everyone do it His way. It appears He favours gadgets and mechanical solutions over biochemical pathways.


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