RU4it? Reproductive rights and access

The F Collection is a blog project by F that highlights a feminist or women’s rights campaign, group or issue every Monday (and sometimes, when we’ve been busy, a little later in the week!). Read on.

In keeping with the pro-choice theme of the last few weeks, this post is about abortion in Australia. Not the idea of abortion, whether you’re pro-choice or not; but the nuts and bolts of access.

Over the past decade, RU486, the medical abortion pill, has been largely unavailable to Australian women.

Meanwhile, in QLD under state law, Tegan Leach and her boyfriend were prosecuted for procuring mifepristone, aka RU486. There’s some more nuanced analysis of this case and the circumstances that led to it here.

In 2006 the ministerial veto against RU486 was lifted, but it was still only available through a limited number of registered practitioners. The current Leader of the Opposition opposed making it available in 2006.

However, the Therapeutic Goods Administration recently made a decision to register Marie Stopes International to market and distribute the drug.

Marie Stopes International has established a not-for-profit health subsidiary, MS Health, to market and distribute reproductive health products.

Despite the fact that in Australia most people are pro-choice, and despite the fact that the majority of people have no idea that abortion is still illegal in NSW, we are only now getting access to this simple and relatively safe and painless method of abortion.
As the good ladies of new campaign website, RU4it? have noted:

This is a fantastic step forward but this is just a first step!

The soaring costs associated with provision of this service means that not all women have full access. This is why RU486 needs to be included on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) – to ensure that all women have full access to reproductive health care when they need it.

Too often, the silent pro-choice majority is just that – silent. Meanwhile, anti-choice lobbyists flood the media and MPs with their unrepresentative views.

Write a letter to your local federal MP, the Ministers for Health and Women or a senator in your state or territory letting them know of your support for these reforms. Letters can be emailed to ru4itcampaign@gmail.com. If you include a name and return address we will even mail it for you!

Screen shot of RU4it?

The letters are also published on the campaign website. You can also take a photo, make a meme or come up with your other fabulous way of getting your message across.
When we held our protest outside Notre Dame University last Monday, a lot of the signs said ‘never again.’
The work Marie Stopes is doing has the capacity to make that slogan a reality.
RU4it? are right – let’s celebrate, and more importantly, build on our victories. Congratulate Marie Stopes and the federal government, and demand that RU486 be subsidised like all other drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Go to RU4it? and get writing!
Like the wonderful featured image of the excellent Nat? You can check out the Amanda Parkinson’s work here.
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