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


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:

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


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:

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


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:

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


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


Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion:

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Video with Nisha Varia – Abortion as a human right


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:

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‘There will be more deaths’: NGOs on Trump’s anti-abortion rule


'There will be more deaths': NGOs on Trump's anti-abortion rule

We asked NGOs how the reinstatement of the ‘global gag’ rule will impact what they do, and the people they work with. Here are some of the responses.

Katherine Purvis and Guardian readers

Thursday 9 February 2017

Three days after his inauguration, Donald Trump reinstated the “global gag” rule, which prohibits the use of US aid money for abortions, prevents NGOs from using private funds for abortion services, from referring women to groups that provide abortions, and even from offering information on services.

We asked NGOs around the world to tell us how the policy impacted them in the past, and what it means for their work today.
Continued at source: The Guardian:

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The 9 countries with the most draconian abortion laws in the world


The 9 countries with the most draconian abortion laws in the world

by Andree Gorman
Dec. 15, 2016, 11:05

LONDON — In November, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would explore offering Northern Irish women a free and legal means to terminate their pregnancy.

Abortion is only legal in Northern Ireland when a pregnant woman's life is at risk, but the NHS has so far refused to pay for the procedure for those who travel to Britain seeking help.

Sturgeon's plan may offer a way around this. In doing so, she also cast light on abortion laws.

Around the world, 58 of 196 countries provide abortions on request, and 134 of 196 countries only allow abortions to preserve a woman's physical health.

Six countries — El Salvador, Malta, the Vatican, Chile, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua — still refuse abortions to women under any circumstances, even if it's to save her life. It means that under many circumstances, such as rape, incest, or if the fetus has a severe abnormality, women still must bring a pregnancy to term.

Developing countries, which have the strictest laws around ending a pregnancy, have the highest unsafe abortion rates. It is estimated that around the world, 78,000 deaths result from unsafe abortions every year. These are the countries with the strictest abortion laws around the globe.

[continued at link]
Source: Business Insider,

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U.N. Committee: Philippines Must Allow Legal Abortion, Improve Access to Contraceptives


10.14.16 - (PRESS RELEASE) The Philippine government should take measures to legalize abortion in certain circumstances and provide sexual and reproductive health information and services, according to the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR Committee).

In its recommendations, the ESCR Committee called on the government to take all measures necessary to reduce the incidence of unsafe abortion and maternal mortality, including amending the current abortion law and improving access to both contraceptives and emergency contraceptives. The ESCR Committee also recommended that the state “expand and strengthen comprehensive, age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health education” as recommended by the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women as a result of a special inquiry in 2012.

[continued at link]
Source: Center for Reproductive Rights

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U.N. Committee: Philippines Must Provide Access to Modern Contraceptives, Legalize Abortion in Certain Circumstances


(PRESS RELEASE) The Philippine government must ensure access to modern contraceptives and legalize abortion in certain circumstances, according to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (U.N. CEDAW).

In its recommendations, the U.N. CEDAW expressed concern about the inconsistent implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act (RPRHA), which was enacted in 2012 and guarantees universal access to modern contraceptives. The U.N. CEDAW further expressed concern about the absence of an effective mechanism to monitor implementation of the RPRHA, as well as the increasing number of unsafe abortions among adolescent girls in the Philippines.

The Philippines has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, imposing a criminal ban on abortion with no clear exceptions. Despite this ban, abortion is common and estimates by the Guttmacher Institute show an increase in its incidence—from approximately 560,000 in 2008 to 610,000 in 2012. Under the RPRHA, abortion remains illegal and punishable as a crime. Proposed amendments to the current penal code aim to increase the penalties for abortion.

Said Melissa Upreti, regional director for Asia at the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Women in the Philippines have a legal right to modern contraceptives, yet they continue to be barred from getting the reproductive health services they need.

“We commend the U.N. Committee for once again urging the government to fully ensure women’s reproductive health and end discrimination against women by providing access to modern contraceptives and legalizing abortion.

“The Reproductive Health Act was a historic victory for women in the Philippines, but it’s time the government make this law a reality for women who deserve to make their own reproductive health choices and live with dignity.”

The Center, Catholics for Reproductive Health, EnGendeRights, International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, Population Services Pilipinas Inc., WomanHealth Philippines Inc. and Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights submitted a joint letter to the U.N. CEDAW emphasizing how the failure to ensure humane and nonjudgmental post-abortion care and provide effective access to justice for reproductive rights violations discriminates against women and girls and egregiously violates their fundamental human rights.

The U.N. CEDAW recommendations also highlight the committee’s concerns regarding bans on modern contraceptives that still exist in part because the Philippine government has not formally declared Executive Orders 003 and 030 of Manila City unlawful—leading to confusion among local health care providers and denials of reproductive health services for women and adolescent girls. In February 2015, the U.N CEDAW also expressed concerns about Executive Order 3 issued by Sorsogon City, which has similarly resulted in the withdrawal of modern contraceptives from local health facilities. An order issued by the Supreme Court in 2015 barring government agencies from approving certain contraceptives has further compounded lack of access to modern contraceptives throughout the country.

In May 2015, U.N. CEDAW released a report criticizing the government for failing to prioritize women’s human rights over religious ideology and cultural stereotypes. U.N. CEDAW experts traveled to the Philippines in November 2012 to conduct a special inquiry under article 8 of the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women – the first ever in Asia and the first on sexual and reproductive health and rights - after the Center and other NGOs submitted evidence of human rights violations women were facing mainly due to Executive Order 003, which effectively banned women’s access to modern contraceptives in Manila City. The inquiry request was based on the Center and Likhaan’s report Imposing Misery.

The U.N. CEDAW unequivocally reiterated its call for the Philippine government to immediately and fully implement all of the recommendations resulting from the special inquiry, including:

  • Improve access to contraception and other sexual and reproductive health services and information
  • Provide access to quality post-abortion care in all public health facilities
  • Review and repeal discriminatory laws, including Manila City’s EOs 003 and 030, to clarify that women have a right to contraceptive information and services as guaranteed in the RPRHA and the Magna Carta of Women;
  • Repeal articles 256–259 of the country’s penal code in order to decriminalize abortion and legalize it on grounds of rape, incest, serious threats to the life or health of the mother and fetal impairment.
  • Ensure access to justice for women whose rights are violated

The Center has been working across Asia for over a decade, including conducting advocacy with local partners to ensure access to modern contraception and safe abortion in the Philippines.

Source: Center for Reproductive Rights

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Philippines: Group welcomes President Duterte’s vow for full Reproductive Health law implementation


07:50 PM July 25th, 2016

A GROUP that advances women’s rights welcomed President Duterte’s announcement on the full implementation of the Republic Act 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH Law).Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, executive director of the non-government organization EnGendeRights, in a statement said it is about time that the RH Law be fully implemented.

The President, in his first State of the Nation Address (Sona) announced that the RH Law must be implemented to curb the population growth and assist the poor in family planning.

“The implementation of the Reproductive Health Law must be put in full force and effect so that couples especially the poor will have freedom of informed choice on the number and spacing of children,” Duterte said.

The RH Law guarantees universal access to methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education and maternal care.

“We really need the provisions of the RH Law to be implemented fully. We badly need the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) should implement a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum from elementary through college,” Padilla said.

She noted that one out of every 10 adolescent women aged 15-19 is already a mother and there are 25 new HIV cases a day while the unintended pregnancy is high with three in ten births unwanted or mistimed and only 38 percent of women aged 15-49 use modern contraceptives.

Due to high unintended pregnancy, she said “high incidence of rape with one woman raped every 71 minutes, unavailability of emergency contraception, lack of access to safe and legal abortion and even lack of access to humane, nonjudgmental, compassionate post-abortion care, we have three women dying every day from complications from unsafe abortion.”

“That’s why we are hopeful that under President Duterte’s administration, we will have access to the full range of comprehensive methods including emergency contraception, comprehensive sexuality education, and access to humane, nonjudgmental, and compassionate post-abortion care,” she added.

Source: (Philippines)
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