What did we tell you earlier this week? The Oz says it all today: “John Howard has signalled that he will offer a conscience vote on the abortion drug RU486, predicting cabinet and the party room will debate the issue before Christmas.”

It’s interesting to note just how far out of step Tony Abbott is with the thinking of many of his cabinet colleagues, let alone other Coalition members. Remember this yarn on Communication Minister Helen Coonan from The Age in August:

Senator Coonan grew up on the family grazing property, Killara, near a town called Mangoplah, 30 kilometres south of Wagga Wagga. Her father was the youngest of 17 children and she attended a one-teacher primary school. After studying arts and law at university on a Commonwealth scholarship – and running the judo club – she began work as a commercial lawyer but found herself taking cases for victims of domestic violence and discrimination.

She was active in feminist politics and setting up Sydney’s first women’s refuges and health and legal centres, and was an early member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby.

But this work did not sit well with the senior partner at her uptight legal firm that was more comfortable dealing with insurance.

“There’d be people in suits sitting in the waiting room and beside them would be some woman with three children … (who was) very distressed and the people in suits would be looking sideways and wondering what was going on.

“I had a rush of blood to the head when I was 25 and I started my own legal firm and it went extremely well.”

Around the same time she helped set up counselling services for women considering an abortion.

“It bothered me there wasn’t much support and information for people going through those kinds of processes. What was really lacking, in my view, was somewhere where people could really look at all their options.

“What I think’s really important is that people have proper information and are not stampeded into a decision.”

And that’s one of Abbott’s fellow NSW right-wingers talking. Don’t say we’ve got a broad church in the Liberal Party again.

And does this mean we’ll be seeing more conscience votes? Interesting.