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.


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.


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

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

“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

“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

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

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"

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]

4)"Here's what you should know about the right to safe abortion" by Clara Rita Padilla, Philippine Star Life, May 26, 2022,

5) Be counted as a supporter of Decriminalization of Abortion and sign the petition at

Feel free to like the Philippine Safe
Abortion Advocacy Network (PINSAN) FB page at and
email us at

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.


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.


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.


Philippines – PH’s restrictive abortion laws lead to unsafe abortion, deaths

By: Cristina Eloisa Baclig
June 29, 2022

MANILA, Philippines—Last week, in a historic decision, the US Supreme Court shocked the world as it officially overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling recognizing women’s constitutional right to abortion.

The 1973 ruling in the landmark Supreme Court case known as Roe v. Wide guarantees a woman’s right to an abortion in the United States in the absence of any federal laws on the procedure.


Philippines – Abortion: A not-so-hidden reality

By: Gideon Lasco
June 10, 2022

We hardly talked about abortion when I was in medical school, but its reality could not be denied in our OB-GYN rotation, when women came to the emergency room, distraught and pale, with the complications of unsafe abortion practices, leading them to sepsis and, oftentimes, death. Alas, I have seen how these women rarely received an iota of sympathy, not even from physicians themselves.

I would learn more about these “unsafe abortion practices” in medical anthropology, where our professor and my eventual mentor, Michael Tan, would always include abortifacients in his discussion of “Quiapo Medical Center” or the range of substances that one can buy in Quiapo, right in front of the church, reflective of our syncretic medical culture. The fact that abortifacients are euphemistically called “pampa-regla” speaks of their being taboo, but the mere fact that they exist speaks of the popular demand for them. Over the years, Professor Tan and I have followed how these abortifacients have gone online; even today, one can easily find Facebook pages that offer them.


Philippines – Abortion is an open secret

APR 3, 2022
ANA P. SANTOS, Rappler

Chances are, you know a woman or are friends with a woman who has needed an abortion

In the eyes of the law, abortion is a crime. In the reality of women’s lives as told in tentative whispers and in hushed conversations, abortion is an open secret.

From the poetic irony of the herbal concoctions openly sold in market stalls in front of Quiapo Church. To the whisper network in the grassroot communities where everyone knows someone who knows someone who can perform an abortion. To the online space, where, as this I-Witness documentary showed, abortion pills are bought and sold through PM and delivered via courier.


Is ‘listening’ enough? Feminists assess Robredo’s conservative stand on gender issues

Vice President Leni Robredo, presidential candidate, has fallen short of supporting some progressive causes that gender advocates have long fought for, but some are willing to bank on her track record of consulting and listening

MAR 23, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Lone female presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo has disappointed some of the women she claims to empower.

As media interviews, debates, and forums went into full swing with the election season, the presidential candidates were asked what they thought about divorce, abortion, and same-sex marriage – three issues the country is deeply divided about.