Missing from Harris’ meeting with Filipinas: Reproductive health, education

Youth leader Carmen Lopez, an audience member in US Vice President Kamala Harris' meeting with Filipina women's rights advocates, says the recent Roe v. Wade overturning in the US may affect reproductive health advocacy across the world

NOV 22, 2022
MICHELLE ABAD

MANILA, Philippines – A youth leader said she would have wanted to talk about sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) as well as empowering Filipino girls through education during United States Vice President Kamala Harris’ town hall discussion with women’s rights advocates on Monday, November 21.

Carmen Lopez, who is part of the AMPLIFY council of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, noted that Harris was a “pro-choice” advocate. Harris has advocated for abortion rights in America.

Continued: https://www.rappler.com/nation/missing-kamala-harris-philippine-visit-meeting-filipinas-reproductive-health-education/


Philippines – Govt rejects UN proposal to allow divorce, abortion

by Franco Jose C. Baroña
November 22, 2022

THE Philippines has rejected outright the recommendation of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to legalize same-sex marriage, as well as to allow abortion and divorce.

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said such recommendations of other UN member-states during last week's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva are "not acceptable."

Continued: https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/11/22/news/govt-rejects-un-proposal-to-allow-divorce-abortion/1867196


UNHRC asks PH to decriminalize abortion as data show ban ineffective, deadly

By: Cristina Eloisa Baclig
November 07, 2022

MANILA, Philippines—The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) called on the Philippine government to decriminalize abortion and improve sexual and reproductive health services such as post-abortion healthcare in the country.

UNHRC, in a recently released concluding observation at its 136th session, said it acknowledged the Philippines’ “efforts to reduce unsafe abortion and maternal mortality.”

Continued: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1690191/unhrc-asks-ph-to-decriminalize-abortion-as-data-show-ban-ineffective-deadly


Philippines told: Decriminalize abortion, legalize divorce, pass anti-discrimination law

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
November 5, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The UN Human Rights Committee is pushing for the Philippines to pass a flurry of legislative reforms aimed at keeping the country in line with an international treaty on civil and political rights.

Among the proposals being brought forward by the UN panel composed of human rights experts are the decriminalization of abortion, the legalization of divorce and the enactment of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law.

Continued: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/11/05/2221718/philippines-told-decriminalize-abortion-legalize-divorce-pass-anti-discrimination-law


Philippines – World Contraception Day aims to debunk reproductive health myths

By: Jean Mangaluz
September 29, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Plenty of myths surround reproductive health in the Philippines, which is why the Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) and healthcare company Bayer Philippines Inc. have partnered for World Contraception Day 2022 to debunk these misconceptions.

With the theme of “Usap Tayo sa Family Planning,” World Contraception Day takes place yearly on September 26 to provide women with access to scientific and non-judgemental information about contraception methods, said Popcom and Bayer Philippines Inc. in a joint statement.

Continued: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1672498/world-contraception-day-aims-to-debunk-reproductive-health-myths


Philippines: Rights groups fear rollback of reproductive care
Many fear that the US move to overturn Roe v. Wade could curb tenuous rights gains in the Philippines. Abortion policies in the country are some of the most restrictive in the world.

Aug 11, 2022
Ana P. Santos

Women's rights advocates in the Philippines fear that the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the United States could also reverse precarious gains in reproductive and sexual health rights in the Southeast Asian country. The US ruling, which was made in 1973 and overturned in June, guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion.

Many believe that the United States' approach to reproductive health care could set the stage for the Philippines.

Continued: https://www.dw.com/en/philippines-rights-groups-fear-rollback-of-reproductive-care/a-62781467


PHILIPPINES – PINSAN Demands President Keep Promises – Defend Women’s Rights and Decriminalize Abortion

PRESS RELEASE
JULY 26, 2022

The Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network
(PINSAN) is calling upon President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to uphold his promises
and address salient issues by providing clear, decisive platforms, and not just
mere pleasantries. As the highest ranked public servant in the country, it is
the president’s duty to serve the people, uphold human rights, and prioritize
the best interests of every Filipino citizen. PINSAN asserts that pursuing
pro-people laws and projects is the president’s moral and legal responsibility
as the people’s elected leader.

Restrictive abortion laws in the Philippines
remain a threat to women’s safety and welfare, and in a February 2022 interview
with Boy Abunda, President Marcos Jr. took a sympathetic stance on the matter,
citing statistics regarding deaths caused by unsafe abortion complications.
PINSAN is strongly urging the president to support these words by
decriminalizing abortion in the Philippines.

Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, spokesperson of
PINSAN and executive director of EnGendeRights, said, “We urge the president to
certify the Decriminalization of Abortion Bill as a priority measure.  It’s time for our country to repeal this
outdated colonial Spanish law restricting women’s rights to safe abortion. This
discriminatory restrictive law has never reduced the number of women who induce
abortion but only leads them to seek abortion in unsafe methods and
conditions.”

“In 2020, there was an estimated 1.26 million
Filipino women who induced abortion. 
Without access to safe abortion, these women—poor, married, younger than
25 or rape survivors—put their lives and health at risk just to discontinue
their unintended or unwanted pregnancies” Padilla continued. “At least three
women die a day from complications from unsafe abortion.  Abortion is common, a reality.  We urge the president to address this urgent
public health issue.  Make the
Decriminalization of Abortion Bill a priority. 
Decriminalize abortion and help us save the lives of women.”

Jihan Jacob, Senior Legal Adviser for Asia of
the Center for Reproductive Rights said, “Marcos Jr. is faced with the
opportunity to champion for women’s rights and put a stop to the thousands of
preventable deaths and complications that women face because of our
discriminatory laws on abortion.”

During President Marcos Jr.’s first State of
the Nation Address held on the 25th of July 2022, there was strong emphasis on
economic growth and recovery. However, human rights issues, which inevitably
affect and are affected by the country’s economic struggles, were glaringly not
mentioned.

“Restricting abortion has negative economic
implications. Between 2014 and 2016, the payment costs of the Philippine Health
Insurance Corporation (PHIC) for post-abortion care more than doubled (from
PHp250 million to Php570 million)” Jacob commented. “In 2021, dilation and
curettage – a surgical procedure commonly used in the country for post-abortion
care – was among the top ten packages and procedures that PHIC paid for
amounting to Php440 million.”  

Atty. Padilla added, “Apart from being
costly, the national government must exert all efforts to replace D&C with
the WHO-recommended manual vacuum aspiration to treat post-abortion care which
is quicker, less intrusive, less painful and has lower complication rate, highlighting
the vast issues that urgently need to address this public health issue.  Up to now, many health providers are not
effectively trained to provide humane, non-judgmental, and compassionate
post-abortion care.  Women suffering
complications from unsafe abortion are humiliated and threatened with
prosecution.  These human rights
violations must stop.  Even women
suffering complications from natural conditions such as spontaneous abortions,
incomplete abortion and intrauterine fetal demise are subjected to the same
abuses.”

While Pres. Marcos Jr. promised a more
concerted effort to strengthen laws regarding violence against women and
children, the blatant disregard for women’s health and welfare, particularly
the decriminalization of abortion, is unacceptable and further undermines the
impact of our draconian legislature on the safety of our women.

“To minimize public costs and more
importantly to save lives, one of the top priorities must be on decriminalizing
abortion and preventing unsafe abortions,” Jacob continued. “This is the time
for Marcos Jr. to call upon Congress to take immediate steps to amend our laws
and decriminalize abortion.”

She further added that, “the newly elected
House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Senate President Jose Miguel Zubiri owe the
same duty to over a million Filipino women and their families who are
continuing to face the stigma, dicrimination and harmful repercussions of
restrictive abortion laws. As the new leaders of Congress, repealing
discriminatory laws and enacting those that advance the country’s public health
and human rights are of pressing importance."

###

You can check these resources on the
Decriminalization of Abortion:

1) Read the full text of the Decriminalization of Induced Abortion Bill to Save Lives of Women, Girls and Persons with Diverse Gender Identities drafted by Atty. Clara Rita Padilla for the Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network #SaveWomensLives https://decriminalizeabortion.ph/2020/09/read-the-full-text-of-the-bill/

The explanatory note is akin to a sexuality
education, gender, gender-based violence, SOGIE, freedom of religion/belief,
right to privacy, human rights module;

2) Rappler Opinion by Clara Rita Padilla: A Filipino woman or girl is raped every 75 minutes. About one in every 8 Filipino women who induce abortion are rape survivors. "Why We Need To Decriminalize Abortion" https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/opinion-why-we-need-decriminalize-abortion/

3) "Reasons Why We Need to Decriminalize Abortion" by Atty. Clara Rita A. Padilla, Fellow at the International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. [15,000 words] https://www.law.utoronto.ca/utfl_file/count/documents/reprohealth/philippines_2020_reasons_to_decriminalize.pdf

4)"Here's what you should know about the right to safe abortion" by Clara Rita Padilla, Philippine Star Life, May 26, 2022, https://philstarlife.com/news-and-views/774136-what-you-should-know-about-the-right-to-safe-abortion

5) Be counted as a supporter of Decriminalization of Abortion and sign the petition at http://www.change.org/decriminalizeabortionph

Feel free to like the Philippine Safe
Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN) FB page at http://www.facebook.com/pinsanorg and
email us at pinsan.network@gmail.com.


Abortion’s illegal in the Catholic majority Philippines, so more than a million women a year turn to other options

By Heather Chen, CNN
Mon July 18, 2022

Miriam has seen her share of high-risk operations and procedures in her years as a veteran doctor in the Philippines -- but none quite as "complicated or as dangerous" as abortions, she said.

"We take on huge risks if we agree to perform an abortion," said Miriam, who is using an alias to protect herself from prosecution in the Philippines. She has performed four abortions on women aged 23 to 48 -- all in secret.

Continued: https://www.cnn.com/2022/07/18/asia/philippines-abortion-ban-debate-women-rights-roe-wade-intl-hnk-dst/index.html


Anna bought abortion pills via social media. Now, like thousands of other Filipinas, she is dead

The case of one 20-year-old from Manila reveals the dangerous role of online sellers of illicit methods in a country where terminations are outlawed

Rebecca Ratcliffe and Guill Ramos
Mon 4 Jul 2022

Shortly before a courier arrived, Anna*, a scared, pregnant young woman from the Philippines, had received instructions on Facebook from the seller about how to proceed when she received her packet of medication containing cytotec, cortal and tablets to prevent bleeding.

She should fast for the day. She must not eat rice but just snack on crackers and drink cola. Anna paid 1,000 pesos (£15) upfront, with a second 1,000 peso due if the abortion was successful.

Continued:  https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/jul/04/abortion-pills-facebook-filipina-women-philippines


Abortion: 2 sides of the coin

By: Cristina Eloisa Baclig
June 30, 2022

MANILA, Philippines—In the Philippines, where abortion—a common health care procedure to end a woman’s pregnancy—remains illegal, the number of women who undergo induced, unsafe abortion continues to increase every year.

Under the 1987 Constitution and the Revised Penal Code, abortion is classified as a criminal offense and is punishable by up to six years in prison for doctors and midwives who perform the medical procedure, and by two to six years in prison for women who undergo the procedure.

Continued: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1619754/abortion-2-sides-of-the-coin