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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New Zealand: Still pregnant after my abortion

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Still pregnant after my abortion

NAME WITHHELD
June 27 2018

When I fell pregnant, it was something I'd always longed for. I'd met someone I wanted to be with forever. When I found out I was pregnant, I said to him that I'd only have this child if he was part of their life no matter if we were together or not.

We both eventually agreed to go through with the pregnancy and my excitement was uncontrollable. But as soon as we agreed to keep the precious baby, it all got taken away from me. I found out he wasn't who I thought he was.

Continued: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/105002035/still-pregnant-after-my-abortion

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Malaysia – Let’s talk about… abortion

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Let’s talk about… abortion
Abortions shouldn't be taken lightly as it can put the life of the pregnant woman at risk if she is not armed with the right facts to make an informed decision.

June 1, 2018

Abortion is a taboo subject in many parts of the world and Malaysia is no exception. It is a topic that provokes much emotion from both sides of the debate and like all ethical debates, the grey areas are more common than the clear cut, black and white answers. The practical implications of the hesitance to discuss this topic gives way to misinformation. Misinformation in the medical field is akin to walking blindfolded through a jungle. One wrong step can put one in danger.

Here in Malaysia, the social stigma of abortion encourages people to seek help in secrecy. In this environment, predatory opportunists seek to make money off desperate people and when things go wrong, the victims have nobody to turn to.

Continued: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/leisure/2018/06/01/lets-talk-about-abortion/

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Malawi: Gynaecologist Sheds Light On Abortion Law Reform in Malawi

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Malawi: Gynaecologist Sheds Light On Abortion Law Reform in Malawi

By Dr Chisali Mhango
May 7, 2018

Renowned Malawian gynaecologist Dr Chisali Mhango sheds light on abortion law history, misconceptions, fears and law reform process in Malawi.

Abortion is a very common universal phenomenon. Since the beginning of recorded history women the world over have terminated unwanted pregnancies. The first recorded evidence of an induced abortion is found in an Egyptian Papyrus dated 1550 BC. Of 213 million pregnancies that occur each year worldwide, 40% are unplanned, of these half end in abortion, and half of those abortions are unsafe, that is 22 million,

Continued: http://allafrica.com/stories/201805070813.html

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UK – Woman who bled to death after late-stage abortion was discharged despite vomiting

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Woman who bled to death after late-stage abortion was discharged despite vomiting
Richard Hartley-Parkinson
Friday 20 Apr 2018

Aisha Chithira suffered a tear to her uterus, was discharged and died later after suffering internal bleeding (Picture: Google Street View)

A woman who died following a late-stage abortion procedure was discharged from the clinic despite vomiting and swaying so much she looked ‘drunk’, an inquest has heard.

Aisha Chithira, 31, travelled to England from Ireland to have a termination at a Marie Stopes clinic in Ealing, west London, on January 21 2012.

Continued: http://metro.co.uk/2018/04/20/woman-bled-death-late-stage-abortion-discharged-despite-vomiting-7482792/

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First Study on the Incidence of Abortion Among Ethiopian Adolescents Released

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First Study on the Incidence of Abortion Among Ethiopian Adolescents Released
Improved Access to Safe Abortion Has Benefited Adolescent Women

March 14, 2018
News Release

A new study finds that adolescent women have benefited greatly from the 2005 expansion of Ethiopia’s abortion law that gave them access to safe, legal abortion services. “Playing it Safe: Legal and Clandestine Abortions Among Adolescents in Ethiopia,” conducted by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and Ipas, documents for the first time legal and clandestine abortion rates among Ethiopian adolescents (aged 15–19), and the severity of abortion-related complications in this age-group. The study found that adolescents are more likely than older women to obtain legal abortion services, and that complications from unsafe abortion are just as severe among adolescents as they are among other age-groups.

Continued: https://www.guttmacher.org/news-release/2018/first-study-incidence-abortion-among-ethiopian-adolescents-released

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Jamaica: Botched abortions – More than 100 cases seen at VJH since start of this year

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Botched abortions - More than 100 cases seen at VJH since start of this year

Published: Sunday | November 5, 2017
Ryon Jones

Scores of Jamaican women are turning up at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH) with pregnancy complications because of botched abortions.

A Sunday Gleaner probe has revealed that between January and September of this year, of the 1,088 expectant mothers who presented to VJH with bleeding in early pregnancy, 91 admitted to having attempted to abort the foetus while an additional 47 had complications that suggested that they had attempted abortions.

Continued at source: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20171105/botched-abortions-more-100-cases-seen-vjh-start-year

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Jamaica: Health minister orders abortion audit

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Health minister orders abortion audit

Published: Sunday, November 5, 2017
Patrick Planter

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton has ordered a medical audit across the public-health system to determine the extent of the problem of attempted termination of pregnancy in Jamaica.

This follows information out of the Victoria Jubilee Hospital that more than 130 women turned up at the facility in the first nine months of this year seeking emergency treatment while either admitting that they attempted abortions or showing symptoms to suggest that they did.

Continued at source: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20171105/health-minister-orders-abortion-audit

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Ghana: Group calls for NHIS cover for unsafe abortion

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Group calls for NHIS cover for unsafe abortion
Tuesday, 24 October 2017

A civil society group IPA is making a bold argument asking government to include abortion treatment to the NHIS.

According to the group it will make more sense and come as a great benefit to the country when the culturally prohibited act is listed onto the scheme.

The group argued that the move will rather lessen financial burden on the scheme if the cost is absorbed by the NHIS.

Continued at source: https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/health/Group-calls-for-NHIS-cover-for-unsafe-abortion-593625

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Nearly Half Of All Abortions Unsafe In Developing Countries

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Nearly Half Of All Abortions Unsafe In Developing Countries

October 3, 2017
Susan Brink

Of the 56 million annual abortions performed around the world, nearly half, or 25 million, posed some threat to the health or life of the woman. The vast majority of unsafe abortions – 97 percent — were performed in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

And about half of those abortions in poor countries are unsafe, compared with just 12.5 percent in wealthy countries, according to a report in last week's issue of The Lancet, the British medical journal.

Gilda Sedgh, an author of the paper, is a scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights research organization. We talked with her about the problem of unsafe abortions in low-income countries. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Continued at source: http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/10/03/555317349/nearly-half-of-all-abortions-unsafe-in-developing-countries

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