Philippines – Right to Safe and Legal Abortion, Divorce, Marriage Equality and Women’s Affirmative Action Missing in PDu30 SONA

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Right to Safe and Legal Abortion, Divorce, Marriage Equality and Women’s Affirmative Action Missing in PDu30 SONA

July 23, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Quezon City, July 23, 2017 – “In President Duterte’s SONA speech, the rights to safe and legal abortion, divorce, marriage equality and women’s affirmative action were blatantly missing. If we recall, after the recent President’s meeting with the CBCP, it was mentioned in the news that President Duterte and the CBCP were in agreement as regards the issues on divorce, abortion, and marriage equality. It is unfortunate that the passage of laws that would have far-reaching impact on the rights of women and LGBTI people were absent in his speech,” said Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights.

“In the draft Constitution that the President is supporting, no woman sits in the Consultative Committee and it is no surprise that the draft itself does not contain affirmative action ensuring women’s representation in Congress and the proposed Constitutional Courts, among others. The Filipino populace would eventually reject this draft as the mere process of drafting itself is questionable as women were left out in the process and women’s rights are glaringly absent in the draft,” said Atty. Padilla.

“For instance, since Philippine jurisprudence recognizes that therapeutic abortion is allowed to save the life of the woman as held in the 1961 Supreme Court case of Geluz v. CA, it is high time that Congress repeal the restrictive provisions in the Revised Penal Code to expressly allow safe and legal abortion on demand or at the very least on various grounds such as risk to the health and life of the woman, rape, fetal impairment, and other reasons the woman might want to seek abortion such as socio-economic reasons, among others,” added Atty. Padilla.

“In the 2017 SONA, President Duterte mentioned that he was against abortion, however, there are many cases where therapeutic abortion can be allowed to save the life of a woman or to prevent disability. Pregnant women with conditions such as dwarfism, hypertensive disorders, tuberculosis, diabetes, bronchial asthma, goiter, HIV, malaria, severe anemia, malnutrition, and pregnant women who are less than 18 or greater than 35 years of age, have a fourth or more children, are battered by their husbands or partners, and have spinal metal plates may die from complications from pregnancy and childbirth and may need access to safe abortion to save their lives and prevent life-long disability,” added Atty. Padilla.

“There are women who become suicidal because of their pregnancy. These include rape victim-survivors who suffer depression, become suicidal, and resort to clandestine and unsafe abortion. Some incest rape victim-survivors who became pregnant after being raped by their own fathers whether adolescents or adults have resorted to clandestine and unsafe abortion risking their health and lives. About one in every nine Filipino women who induce abortion are rape victim-survivors. Without access to safe and legal abortion, they end up part of the statistics of women who die from unsafe abortion complications. These cases fall under the ambit of therapeutic abortions to save the life and health of the woman,” explained Atty. Padilla.

“Because of lack of access to safe and legal abortion in the Philippines, in 2012, there were about three Filipino women who died every day from complications from unsafe abortion. Many women report being treated inhumanely when they are rushed to the hospitals to get treatment for complications for their self-induced abortions. And because of the restrictive abortion law and judgment passed on women, it is not only the women who induce abortions who are treatly harshly but also women who suffer complications from spontaneous abortions, miscarriages after being beaten by their abusive husbands, and fetal death. I hope our representatives in the Philippine government will realize how these human rights violations are so pervasive in our society and they just simply can’t turn a blind eye on this important issue. I hope the Philippines will soon decriminalize abortion since presently abortion is only recognized in our country to save the woman's life and for medical necessity based on a 1961 supreme Court decision,” added Atty. Padilla.

Abortion is common in the Philippines with about 70 women inducing abortion every hour and about 11 women hospitalized every hour from unsafe abortion complications in 2012. The number of women who have induced abortion in 2018 would be significantly higher since the number of women inducing abortion increases proportionally with the growing Philippine population.

Unsafe abortion is the third leading cause of maternal death and is a leading cause of hospitalizations.

There are various reasons why Filipino women undergo abortion. Filipino women induce abortion due to various reasons such as:
- Economic
- Inability to afford the cost of raising a child or an additional child –75% of the women
- Too soon (having enough children or their pregnancy came too soon after their last birth) – more than half of the women
- Age/Too young – 46% were women younger than 25
- Health risks – nearly one-third of the women
- Rape - 13% of the women
- Pregnancy not supported by Partner/Family - one-third of the women

Most of the women who are hospitalized and die from complications from unsafe abortion are poor, Roman Catholics, married, with at least three children, and have at least a high school education. Poor women comprise two-thirds of those who induce abortion, using riskier abortion methods, thus disproportionately experiencing severe complications —clearly showing that lack of access to safe abortion is a social justice issue.

The archaic Spanish colonial law on abortion in our 1930 Revised Penal Code has not decreased the number of women who induce abortion rather it has made it dangerous for women who resort to clandestine and unsafe abortion.***

Contact Person:

Atty. Clara Rita “Claire” A. Padilla
Executive Director
EnGendeRights, Inc.
Mobile: (+63)918-2182682
Email: engenderights@gmail.com;
padillaclara@yahoo.com
Blog: http://clararitapadilla.blogspot.com
Like us: https://www.facebook.com/engenderightsphilippines
Twitter: @Clara Rita Padilla

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It’s time for the Philippines to decriminalize abortion

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It’s time for the Philippines to decriminalize abortion
Most of the women who are hospitalized and die from complications from unsafe abortion are poor, Roman Catholics, married, with at least 3 children, and have at least a high school education

Clara Rita Padilla
June 01, 2018

Last May 25, in a historic referendum, Ireland paved the way to increase access to abortion. The Irish citizens who voted to repeal the 8th amendment to the Constitution providing equal protection to the life of the woman and the unborn have won. This is great news for Irish women and for women living in restrictive abortion laws.

Finally, the overwhelming vote of 66.4% to repeal the 8th amendment is in line with women’s right to health. It clearly manifests respect for women’s right to decide and a significant step to save women’s lives and freedom from disability that result from denial of access to safe and legal abortion.

Continued: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/203572-time-decriminalize-abortion-philippines

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Humanae Vitae: The Story Behind the Ban on Contraception

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Humanae Vitae: The Story Behind the Ban on Contraception
2018 Issue 1, By Conscience
Posted Apr 29, 2018

Fifty Years Ago, Pope Paul VI Slammed The Door On Catholics’ use of modern contraceptives with the encyclical Humanae Vitae and its fateful words: “The Church…in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.” 1

Humanae Vitae marked a turning point for the Catholic church, as Pope Paul rejected the theologically sound findings of his own Papal Birth Control Commission in favor of a turn to rigid orthodoxy. Having missed the chance to craft a modern, compassionate sexual ethic based on the individual consciences of Catholics, the church found itself largely ignored on matters of sex by its own faithful, which left it grasping for other ways to enforce its teachings. It was also a historic moment for the rest of the world, as Humanae Vitae would come to dominate the hierarchy’s stance on public health challenges like the spread of HIV/ AIDS and access to birth control in the developing world.

Continued: http://consciencemag.org/2018/04/29/humanae-vitae/

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This Is How Contraception Saves Women’s Lives In The Asia-Pacific

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This Is How Contraception Saves Women's Lives In The Asia-Pacific

"Being able to avoid an unwanted pregnancy could be the difference between life and death.”
Posted on November 21, 2017
Gina Rushton, BuzzFeed News Reporter, Australia

Around 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions across the world want to access modern methods of contraception but can’t, estimates Marie Stopes International (MSI) Australia, a non-profit social enterprise providing access to reproductive health services in the Asia Pacific region.

Around 43% of pregnancies in developing regions are unintended and 13% of global maternal mortality is due to unsafe abortion.

Continued at source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/ginarushton/this-is-how-contraception-saves-womens-lives-in-the-asia

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Philippines: Implanon contraceptive implants do not induce abortion – FDA

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Implanon contraceptive implants do not induce abortion – FDA

The FDA certification that Implanon and Implanon NXT are non-abortifacients is a condition set by the Supreme Court for lifting the 2-year-old TRO on contraceptives

Mara Cepeda
November 12, 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certified that contraceptive implant brands Implanon and Implanon NXT are non-abortifacients or do not cause abortion.

The FDA on Sunday, November 12, released the results of its re-certification process of all 51 contraceptives covered by the two-year-old temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) against the Reproductive Health (RH) Law. The document was dated Friday, November 10.

Continued at source: https://www.rappler.com/nation/187493-implanon-contraceptive-implants-non-abortifacients-fda

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Inside the Philippines’ women-run crime ring selling abortion elixirs

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Inside the Philippines’ women-run crime ring selling abortion elixirs
For poor Filipinas with unwanted pregnancies, this is what reproductive care looks like.

Patrick Winn
Aug 23, 2017

The drug deal takes place in the back of a sedan, parked near one of Manila’s most exalted cathedrals.

The dealer, Elsa — not her real name — has brought her wares in a plastic shopping bag. At my request, she dumps the illicit inventory on the backseat for inspection.

Continued at source: Global Post Investigations: https://gpinvestigations.pri.org/inside-the-philippines-women-run-crime-ring-selling-abortion-elixirs-51cd2de6cb8b

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Philippines: Duterte told: Therapeutic abortion allowed to save women’s lives

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Duterte told: Therapeutic abortion allowed to save women’s lives

By: Tonette Orejas
Inquirer Central Luzon
July 26, 2017

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Therapeutic abortion, or the medical procedure that terminates pregnancy to be able to save the life of a woman, is allowed in the Philippines, according to a women’s health group.

The group made the statement in reaction to the anti-abortion posture President Duterte expressed in his State of the Nation Address on Monday.

“In Philippine jurisprudence, it is recognized that therapeutic abortion is allowed to save the life of the woman,” lawyer Clara Rita Padilla, EnGendeRights executive director, said.

Continued at source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/917566/duterte-told-therapeutic-abortion-allowed-to-save-womens-lives

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How bitter herbs and botched abortions kill three women a day in the Philippines

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How bitter herbs and botched abortions kill three women a day in the Philippines

In a country where more than 65% of women don’t use contraceptives and terminating pregnancy is illegal, ‘torturous’ practices are often the only option

Claudine Spera in Manila
Monday 10 July 2017

Outside the gates of Manila’s Quiapo church, deals are being done. Bitter herbs and abortion medication are traded illegally.

Next to an imposing statue depicting a foetus clasped in the hands of Christ, stalls offer an array of rosary beads, amulets, mangoes and songbirds. Here, the abortion pill misoprostol is on sale for just $5 (£3.90), as well as the herb pamparegla, which can induce menstruation and end pregnancy. All this goes on in the shadows of the largest Catholic church in Manila.

Continued at source: The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jul/10/how-bitter-herbs-and-botched-abortions-kill-three-women-a-day-in-the-philippines

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Philippines: SRHR advocates call on the government to provide contraception and decriminalize abortion

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After UPR: SRHR advocates call on the government to provide contraception and decriminalize abortion
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
May 12, 2017

In Geneva on 8 May, the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review raised questions on the compliance of the Philippines government with its commitments on reproductive health and rights, including access to abortion. The Netherlands recommended that the Philippine government should take immediate steps to permit abortion when the woman’s life is in danger; when the pregnancy is a result of rape; and in cases of fetal impairment, with a view to decriminalizing abortion in the near future.

PINSAN (Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network) submitted a joint report to the session. In a press release on 9 May, they reported that there are three women dying every day from complications from unsafe abortion in the country, and that over 600,000 Filipino women induce unsafe abortion each year at the risk to their lives, health, liberty, and security.

Sweden recommended that the government ensure that Executive Order No.12, pertaining to the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (2012), is fully implemented in order to meet the need for modern family planning and to secure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. They noted that according to government estimates in 2016, there are still 7.3 million women in the Philippines who have an unmet need for modern contraceptives.

President Duterte’s Executive Order No.12, 9 January 2017, was intended to ensure strict implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law 2012 – to attain and sustain “zero unmet need for modern family planning”. In 2015, in response to an anti-abortion petition, the Supreme Court stopped the Department of Health’s (DOH) programme for the distribution and sale of contraceptive implants and barred the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from “granting any and all pending application for reproductive products and supplies, including contraceptive drugs and devices”. Then, in an August 2016 ruling, the Court denied a motion by the DOH to withdraw the order and instead remanded the case to the FDA to check if the contraceptive products had abortifacient side effects (sic). This has effectively blocking access to most birth control products.

Reproductive health advocates have warned that the Philippines stands to run out of contraceptives by 2020. Speaking at a forum organized by House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano this month, Junice Melgar of the Department of Health’s national implementing committee on the Reproductive Health Law said the court’s temporary restraining order on the certification of contraceptive products had far-reaching health implications for women. The director of the DOH’s Family Health Office told the forum: “Slowly, I think they are killing women. Last year, the registration of several products expired. This year, we expect 62% to expire. Next year, a full 90% will be expiring. And by 2020, there will be no contraceptives, nothing.”

In this light, women’s rights and SRHR advocates welcomed the Human Rights Council’s recommendations and called on the government to act urgently to address these sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.

PINSAN Statement, 9 May 2017 ; Philippine Daily Inquirer, by DJ Yap, 8 May 2017 ; Rappler, by Pia Ranada, 11 January 2017 ;  PHOTO: Members of the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network display condoms to support the passage of the Reproductive Health bill during a protest outside the presidential palace in Manila on 1 October 2010. © 2010 Reuters

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Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion: http://www.safeabortionwomensright.org/after-upr-srhr-advocates-call-on-the-government-to-provide-contraception-and-decriminalize-abortion/

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Video with Nisha Varia – Abortion as a human right

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Video with Nisha Varia - Abortion as a human right

Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network
Published on Apr 12, 2017

We have Nisha Varia, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch's women's rights division, as our guest. We discuss the Global Gag Rule and how it will affect the lives of women worldwide. We also talk about abortion as a human right.

Source, video (14:40 mins) Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oax7HDG98nY&feature=youtu.be

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