Queensland will become the first jurisdiction to allow nurses and midwives to prescribe medical abortion pills under new laws aimed at expanding abortion access in regional parts of the state. Source: The Australian.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration in July approved an application from the not-for-profit pharmaceutical company MS Health to relax restrictions on who can prescribe the pill MS-2 Step, which can be taken up to nine weeks from conception. It is up to each state and territory to determine which health practitioners will have prescribing powers.
Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman introduced the first laws in Australia to grant capacity to nurses and midwives.
Before the TGA’s ruling earlier this year, only doctors who had conducted extra training could prescribe the pill, and only about 10 per cent of GPs were registered to do so.
The new laws have been praised by pro-choice groups, but obstetricians have raised the alarm about unintended consequences from expanding access to medical terminations, warning women could be at risk of complications, or even death.
National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Gino Pecoraro said one in five women needed surgery after a medical termination.
“There’s a general principle in medicine that you shouldn’t be prescribing a treatment unless you can deal with complications from it,” he said. “Safety shouldn’t be offered up on the altar of convenience.”
Ms Fentiman rejected concerns from obstetricians that nurses and midwives would not be able to handle complications.
Nurses, midwives to prescribe abortion pills in Queensland (By Lydia Lynch, The Australian)