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Salient. Official Newspaper of Victoria University of Wellington Students Association. Vol 40 No. 11. May 23 1977

Now for the bad news

Now for the bad news.

What does the Royal Commission have to say about pregnancy tests? Virtually nothing. In the terms of reference the Commission was expected to deal with "contraceptive matters in all commonly existing and likely forms". This should have included a discussion on new and future techniques for pregnancy diagnosis. The Commission has neglected to do this. Throughout the report the Commission refers to pregnancy diagnosis in terms of the standard urine lest which becomes positive at about 14 days after the missed period.

So what? Does it really matter? It unfortunately makes irrelevant much of the discussion on menstrual regulation. The definition of menstrual regulation given on Pg. 414 reads:

"A term applied to the aspiration of the contents of the uterus when the menstrual period is overdue hut before diagnosis of pregnancy is possible "

The Commission is sadly out of date before publication.

They do however make a vague recommendation regarding pregnancy tests (Pg. 197;)

"That early pregnancy testing services.... be free of cost and be made widely available."

The text does not discuss this recommendation so we do not know what it means. What is meant by Early pregnancy tests? Does that include the more expensive radiommunoassays? Would they be free? And how Widely Available should tests be Through doctors only? Through Hospital Boards? Through chemists? Through mail order? Do-it-yourself tests are available overseas.

None of these issues have been discussed by the Commission. It is ironic that in the same month that technology takes us one step forward, the Royal Commission takes us two steps backwards.

Baby we've still got a long way to go.

Margaret Sparrow