There is a battle waging in the Philippines between those who understand that reproductive health care, especially access to sex ed, birth control and safe abortion procedures, benefits society and those who think it is better to cut off that care. But reproductive care has a new advocate in the Center for Reproductive Rights, who’s new report on the danger of illegal, unsafe abortion in the country is taking the media by storm. (You can read about the report as well as see a moving video from the CRR here.)
The key finding is that although abortion is illegal in the Philippines, that doesn’t dissuade women from procuring them, only from obtaining them safely. Via the AFP:
A ban on abortion in the Roman Catholic Philippines has caused a human rights crisis, with more than half a million women unsafely terminating their pregnancies each year, a rights group said.
The New York-based Centre for Reproductive Rights issued a report this week saying about 1,000 women died annually in the Philippines after having backstreet abortions.
“The criminalisation of abortion in the Philippines… violates women’s human rights by denying them access to safe and legal abortion,” the report said.
And despite abortion being illegal, more than 560,000 women terminated their pregnancies each year, according to the centre, which has been working with local women’s rights groups in the Philippines for several years.
Despite the danger that women are being forced into in order to control their own bodies, adversaries are fighting hard to keep abortion illegal. The New York Times reports:
Abortion is outlawed without exception in the Philippines, the largest Roman Catholic country in Asia, where poverty can be extreme. Efforts to legalize it, or even mitigate its impact through the promotion of a sound reproductive health program, have been met with intense opposition from the church, which has considerable influence.
Poor women with no means for acquiring reproductive services often resort to illegal and mostly unsafe abortions. According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, more than half a million Filipino women undergo illegal abortions every year. Of this number, 90,000 suffer complications, and a thousand eventually die, the center said. Abortion-related complications, it said, are one of the top 10 causes of hospitalization among women in the Philippines. According to the World Health Organization, 20 percent of maternal deaths in the country are a result of unsafe abortions.
However hard the CRR and its advocates are pushing for change to abortion law, the The Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) are standing firm in their refusal to even consider it. From the Inquirer:
The Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD) composed of, among others, some authors of the reproductive health bills pending in Congress, have asked the public not to consider abortion as a family planning method.
“Legalization of abortion is not the right approach to address the increasing number of mothers dying every day due to pregnancy and pregnancy-related complications,” PLCPD executive director Ramon San Pascual said Sunday in a statement.
He said the PLCPD strongly opposed the call of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) for Congress to pass a law that would permit abortion in the country.
“Abortion is not part of the PLCPD’s proposed measures on reproductive health and [we are] not part of any group calling for the legalization of abortion in the Philippines,” San Pascual said.
The church is also stepping up its rhetoric, reminding the country once more that abortion is and always will be a mortal sin for anyone involved. Via Catholic Culture:
A leading Philippine prelate is reminding Catholics that those who procure an abortion incur an automatic excommunication. The excommunication, says Archbishop Oscar Cruz, affects “the woman concerned, the husband who helped her, the abortionist, [and] the nurses” who actively participated in the abortion.
So how exactly is the Philippines planning to address problems in the reproductive health community? Why, they have a new Family Planning Slogan-Making Contest! They hope that the contest and subsequent television education campaign will, among other things, help families understand that they should try to space their children out at least three years apart and practice “responsible parenthood.” Which, in a country with the church fighting not only abortion, but birth control, too, should be really effective.
For anti-’gag law’ group, the fight goes on – Alaska Dispatch
Marino: Where does Carney really stand on abortion? – Williamsport Sun-Gazette
LETTER: Sex education should be up to the parents, 08-08-10 – Fall River Herald News
New Hampshire May See First All-Female Delegation – CQPolitics.com
Seeking Hyde – Town Hall
Abortion coverage unchanged in high-risk plans, White House clarifies – American Medical News
Deception used in counselling women against abortion – Toronto Star
‘Pro-Life’ Means More Than it Used to – Christian News Wire
Quillen: Colorado’s zygote zealots – Denver Post
Suit challenges abortion laws – 2TheAdvocate
Rights Group Denounces Illegality of Abortion in Philippines – New York Times
Rights Group Condemn Illegal Abortions In The Philippines – AHN | All Headline News
Ruling made with a certain bias – Philadelphia Inquirer
Film examines anti-abortion movement – Toronto Star
Right to Abortion Written into Kenyan Constitution – First Things
Solons, others oppose legalizing abortion in RP – Inquirer.net
In Georgia, Candidates Tack Right – Wall Street Journal
Abbott denies he’ll act against abortion – Sydney Morning Herald
Letters: Noem’s record on abortion – Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Philippine prelate emphasizes: Automatic excommunication for abortion – Catholic Culture
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Merrill parents protest sex-ed changes – Wausau Daily Herald
Schools in Australia may supply condoms – International Business Times AU
First Lady asks for family planning overhaul – Jakarta Post
POPCOM 2 launches family planning slogan making contest – Philippine Information Agency
CSU vet helps debut elephant vasectomy procedure – Longmont Daily Times-Call
Pill douses lemur lust – News & Observer
Schools urged to install free condom machines – ABC Online
Ministry of Health promotes contraception in rural areas of Peru – Catholic News Agency
Older adults get HIV diagnosis later, die sooner – msnbc.com
The Latest HIV/AIDS Breakthrough Will Empower Women Only Further – Huffington Post
80 percent of Zimbabwean prostitutes test HIV positive- Zim Diaspora
Southern Africa women still face huge challenges – The Southern Times
Women who escape forced marriages – Telegraph.co.uk
‘Baby blues’ requires help – Korea Times
Cervical cancer initiative launched – The News International
Join effort to restore women’s funds – Gloucester County Times – NJ.com
Drop the guilt trip: Daycare doesn’t hurt your kids – The Province
Maternal health boosted by community health programme – Democratic Voice of Burma