Manila’s Abortion Ban Is Killing Women
Roughly 1,000 women in the Philippines die every year from lack of safe terminations. Others go to jail.
By Nick Aspinwall
May 29, 2019
Several U.S. states including Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri have recently passed draconian abortion laws. In Alabama, the new rules effectively ban abortion unless the life of the mother or the fetus is at risk and make no exceptions for rape or incest. The law has drawn damning comparisons to countries such as Bangladesh and Romania.
BBut the most relevant example may be a country whose religious and political history is closely tied to the United States. In the Philippines, a former U.S. colony, abortion has been banned entirely for over a century. Philippine law mandates prison terms of up to six years for people who have abortions and for anyone who assists in the procedure. Arrests and convictions of women and abortion providers are commonly reported in local media, and United Nations committees repeatedly note that the abortion ban disproportionately harms socioeconomically disadvantaged women and members of other vulnerable groups. In practice, abortion is allowed in cases where the pregnant person’s life is at risk, but no law explicitly states this.