Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

"Why Are So Many Children Dying in Gaza?"

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Seleka calls for partition

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

ENCORE!

High-tech acting king Andy Serkis on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Read more

REPORTERS

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza bloodshed deepens

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours to kill inmate

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Remains of Flight MH17 victims arrive in the Netherlands

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • Ryanair ordered to pay back €9.6m in illegal state aid to France

    Read more

  • Gaza protests: ‘France imported the Mideast conflict a long time ago’

    Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • TransAsia Airways Taiwan crash leaves dozens dead

    Read more

  • Poland’s Rafal Majka wins 17th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Young riders raise French hopes for Tour de France

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

Europe

Health watchdog allows sale of abortion pill

Video by Fiona CAMERON

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-01

The Italian Pharmaceuticals Agency approved the sale of the controversial RU486 abortion drug in the country despite strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. The drug allows the user to have a chemically induced abortion.

AFP - An Italian drugs safety watchdog approved late Thursday the sale of the abortion-inducing drug RU486 in this predominantly Roman Catholic country, the ANSA news agency reported.

The Italian Pharmaceuticals Agency (AIFA) gave its decision on the drug, which is marketed under the name Mifegyne, after a two-year process of deliberation.

Their decision came despite strong pressure from the Roman Catholic Church and a clear lack of enthusiasm from the right-wing coalition government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, ANSA reported.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, warned Thursday that any doctor or woman, or anyone involved in promoting the drug, would be subject to excommunication from the church.

"One takes a decision as if one was dealing with any anti-fever drug and not a means of suppressing a life, even if it is at its early stage," said junior interior minister Alfredo Mantovano.

AIFA's board decided to grant the November 2007 request of the French laboratory Exelgyn to put the drug on the market. Mifegyne has been available in France since 1988.

RU486, which is not to be confused with the so-called "morning after" pill Norlevo, which has been available in Italy since 2000, allows the user to have a chemically induced abortion instead of a surgical intervention.

The pill is used to terminate an unwanted pregnancy within the first five or seven weeks, depending on the country where it is prescribed.

A 1978 Italian law allows surgical abortion only.

Italian law also allows doctors to refuse to perform abortions as conscientious objectors -- an option used by some 70 percent of Italy's gynaecologists.
 

Date created : 2009-07-31

COMMENT(S)