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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 4(4)

Introducing early medical abortion in Australia: there is a need to update abortion laws

Caroline M. de Costa A F, Darren B. Russell B, Naomi R. de Costa C, Michael Carrette D, Heather M. McNamee E

A Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, James Cook University School of Medicine, Cairns Campus, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia.
B Sexual Health Clinic, Cairns Base Hospital, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia.
C PO Box 833, Edge Hill, Qld 4870, Australia.
D Visiting Medical Officer, Cairns Base Hospital, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia.
E Visiting Medical Officer, Sexual Health Clinic, Cairns Base Hospital, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia.
F Corresponding author. Email: caroline.decosta@jcu.edu.au
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Recent changes to Federal Therapeutic Goods Administration legislation have seen the limited introduction of the drug mifepristone to Australia for the purpose of early medical abortion. At the same time it has become evident that both methotrexate and misoprostol, licenced and available for other indications, are being used safely and appropriately for early abortion by Australian medical practitioners. Early medical abortion is widely practiced overseas where its safety and effectiveness are well supported by current evidence. However, abortion law in many states is still contained within the Criminal Codes and does not reflect current evidence-based abortion practice. In other states and territories restrictions on where abortions may be performed pose potential barriers to the introduction of mifepristone for medical abortion. There is an urgent need for abortion law to be clarified and made uniform across the country so that the best possible services can be provided to Australian women.

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