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Australian Parliament Strips Health Minister of Power to Veto Abortion Drug


Australia's parliament has approved legislation that will likely make the abortion pill RU-486 available in that country.

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to strip the country's Health Minister Tony Abbott of his power to veto applications to import and prescribe the drug.

The vote followed the Senate's approval of the bill last week.

This reverses a 1996 decision that gave such approval authority over the drug to the health minister, a staunch Catholic and abortion opponent. While debating the bill, a few legislators told personal stories about their experiences with abortion.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration will now oversee applications to import and prescribe RU-486, also known as mifepristone. The administration is the country's main drug regulator.

RU-486 can induce abortion in women who are up to nine weeks pregnant.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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