Modia Minotaur

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

RU-486 Bill Passes Parliament

Today's conscience bill on RU-486 was easily passed in the House of Representatives today, as it was in the Senate. A great deal of worthy debate has been had elsewhere on the extent to which this debate should or should not be considered a quote-unquote `womens issue' - Peter Costello's dramatic speech about having to decide whether to discontinue his comatose wife's pregnancy serves to highlight this.

Nevertheless, the historic nature of the passage of this bill for Australia's female parliamentarians should not be underestimated. It is difficult to think of another issue that has so united parliamentarians fromm the four different parties with such passion on a single issue. While Health Minister Tony Abbott will insist this is a personal rebuff against himself, this is in fact a rebuff against the notion that a single person - any person - rather than an expert body appointed for the purpose - should have the ultimate say on the use of a drug which (like it or not Tony) has therapeutic value.

This has been quite a fascinating debate, which has seen abortion brought into the open and many politicians bare their souls on an issue which is - and will always be - endlessly contentious.

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