Access to medical abortions will be dramatically expanded in Australia under major changes that will allow all doctors and nurse practitioners to prescribe the pregnancy termination pill, and all pharmacies to stock it.
The landmark move to slash red tape around who can prescribe and dispense the drug should enable medical abortions to become a first-line option for women who want them, by encouraging thousands more health professionals to provide access to the two-part medication
Only about 10 per cent of doctors and 30 per cent of pharmacists are currently certified to deal with the pill – known as MS-2 Step in Australia, or RU486 overseas – which provides major obstacles for Australian women who need timely care
Restrictions will be removed from August so health practitioners don’t have to undergo special certification and registration through the drug’s importer, the non-profit MS Health. All pharmacies will be able to dispense MS-2 Step like they would any other medication, while nurse practitioners will be able to prescribe it for the first time once the measure is enacted by states and territories.