Over-the-Phone abortions not a safe alternative


The abortion pill allows termination of an intra-uterine pregnancy of up to 49 gestation days. Source: ABC News
The abortion pill allows termination of an intra-uterine pregnancy of up to 49 gestation days. Source: ABC News

An over-the-phone abortion service has called for assistance after being overwhelmed by an influx of new patients seeking access to abortion drug RU486.

The service, run by Tabbot Foundation provides women access to the abortion drug over the phone, allowing them to have it posted to them.

A nurse who has assisted with abortion procedures in the past says the drug is dangerous, but the popularity of the drug is due to women seeking privacy.

“RU486 is a traumatic drug, it’s distressing to take and it causes haemorrhages the size of golf balls. The pain is strong to severe and there have been cases listed in the PBS of women dying,” Ms Simpson said.

“In no way is it a miracle drug but for women who want security, privacy and self-confidence it gives them this right,” she said.

The service has provided vital access to women in remote areas and vulnerable women who are attacked entering health clinics.

Ms Simpson says she would not recommend the over-the-phone service to anyone as the best practice is to see a doctor, however she is not surprised that women would rather make a phone call.

“I have witnessed a lot of cases where women have been harassed at clinics, in one case a pro-life man dressed up as a priest and entered the centre,” Ms Simpson said.

“A married woman was called a whore on her way to the clinic, which makes the secrecy of taking the drug over the phone more preferable,” she said.

Jane* who underwent an abortion procedure when she was nineteen said it took her a while to make the decision.

“I felt bad going through with it, I felt like I had to deal with the consequences for my actions,” she said.

“I was torn between what my family would think, the forcefulness of his mother and wanting to have the baby”.

Jane says it’s a matter of choice, a choice to keep it or a choice to abort but every woman should be given the choice.

“I believe every woman should have the right to choose, its not about being ready its about being able to support that child,” she said.

Even though Jane had a traumatic experience she said she would not have chosen the phone call.

“The clinic was so depressing it wasn’t a happy place but they offered a counsellor, and there was a doctor who thoroughly checks you and double checks you,” she said.

“I think the over-the-phone services sends a message to teenage girls that abortion is easy and they could make a secret phone call and hide it.”

State spokesperson from Cherish Life Queensland Teresa Martin says even in cases of rape or incestuous relationships, the drug will not help anyone.

“The issue here is that the drug is dangerous and by assessing women over the phone some aspects of the woman’s health goes unclosed,” she said.

“We should stop trying to find ways to kill babies and find ways to provide adequate services to women that need help with family difficulties and adoption,” she said.

“You cannot un-rape someone,”

“You can’t think that getting an abortion is easy, it is far more complex than a phone call.”

*name has been changed to protect identity 

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