Last week the Italian Pharmaceuticals Agency, the body responsible for overseeing drug safety in the cradle of Catholicism, approved the sale of the medical abortion drug mifepristone (RU486) across Italy. Meanwhile in Queensland, the drug remains unavailable to doctors wishing to prescribe it.

The case against the young Cairns couple accused of unlawfully procuring an abortion, allegedly using, it now transpires, both RU486 and misoprostol, is due to proceed with committal hearings on September 3rd and 4th. The couple have yet to enter a plea but the uncertainty surrounding Queensland’s nineteenth century abortion laws has already been amply demonstrated by the case.