Pregnant teenager backs abortion pill
By NERIDA BLOK
AT 18 years of age and 24 weeks pregnant Cherie Harrison supports calls to lift a national ban on the abortion drug RU486.
The Lennox Head teenager said her pregnancy was not planned and if it was not for the support of her fiance, Travis Stroud, and both their parents, she would have considered an abortion 'as a last resort'.
The drug, used as an alternative to surgery, is increasingly available in more than 33 countries including the US, UK, France and New Zealand.
It blocks the action of progesterone, which is needed to sustain a pregnancy.
"I wasn't for abortion but I wasn't going to be irresponsible and have a child if I didn't have support," said Ms Harrison. "I think a pill would be less traumatic than surgery. I reckon it should be available but obviously not over the counter."
Debate over RU486's ban in Australia has gained media attention this week after Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott released advice that the drug posed increased risks for women and was unsafe when used in areas where there was limited access to obstetrics.
However, Cait Calcutt, spokesperson for Reproductive Choice Australia, said RU486 would allow women in regional and rural areas 'to be able to have a safe medical abortion in their home town instead of having to travel long distances'.
"I think, along with many other medical procedures, women would like to be around their family and other supporters when undertaking a major life decision such as abortion," she said.
Kari Panttari, pastor with Ballina Assembly of God, said yestereday 'all life was sacred'.
"We are very much not in favour of abortion, either by those means (pill) or more traditional means (surgery), later in pregnancy," he said.