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

Like US, Mexico faces a state-by-state divide over abortion

Differences over abortion have pitted one large batch of U.S. states against another — one group imposing sweeping bans, the other intent on making abortions accessible

Nov 4, 2022

 OAXACA, Mexico (AP) — Differences over abortion have pitted one large batch of U.S. states against another — one group imposing sweeping bans, the other intent on preserving access to abortion. To a remarkable extent, that’s also the case in America’s southern neighbor, Mexico.

Ten of Mexico’s 32 states have decriminalized abortion — most of them in just the past three years. Even in some of those 10 states, for example Oaxaca, abortion-rights activists say they face persisting challenges in trying to make abortion safe, accessible and government-funded.

Continued: https://www.corsicanadailysun.com/national/like-us-mexico-faces-a-state-by-state-divide-over-abortion/article_bdd7052b-6bb4-583d-a253-81e483bee755.html

More than 25 NGOs intensify their fight to legalize abortion in Venezuela

by Lance Vaughn 
September 10, 2022

Some 25 Venezuelan NGOs, grouped in the Ruta Verde platform, intensify their fight to legalize abortion with the collection against the clock of 21,000 signatures that must be attached to the bill on sexual and reproductive rights that they will take to Parliament, which will have to debate if it advances until become normative.

The platform intends for there to be a sexual and reproductive education that provides knowledge about contraceptive methods, abortion in different cases and the options that women have to face unwanted pregnancies.

Continued; https://www.ruetir.com/2022/09/10/more-than-25-ngos-intensify-their-fight-to-legalize-abortion-in-venezuela/

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 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.

US abortion restrictions are unlikely to influence international trends, which are largely becoming more liberal

July 12, 2022
Martha Davis

The Supreme Court’s June 24, 2022, ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade is already having profound effects across the United States, from Florida to Wisconsin. And the ruling also bucks a clear worldwide trend. In countries from Iceland to Zambia, abortion restrictions have been lifted over the last two decades, not tightened.

Today, only 24 countries out of 195 prohibit abortion, representing just 5% of women of reproductive age globally. Twice that many countries have made it easier to legally get an abortion in the past 20 years.

Continued:  https://theconversation.com/us-abortion-restrictions-are-unlikely-to-influence-international-trends-which-are-largely-becoming-more-liberal-186181

Roe Abolition Makes U.S. a Global Outlier

Almost 50 years ago, the United States liberalized abortion laws, and the world followed suit. Today, it joins Iran, North Korea, and Russia in rolling back reproductive rights.

JUNE 24, 2022
by FP Staff

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to an abortion. In a 6-3 ruling, with all three of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s appointees voting in the majority, the court upheld a Mississippi state law that banned abortions after a gestational age of 15 weeks. That hands legal authority for abortions to states, about half of which will enact all but total bans on the medical procedure.

With the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the United States became a world leader in liberalizing abortion laws, and scores of other countries followed suit in the decades afterward. Although a handful of countries in recent years have reversed these laws, Foreign Policy analysis shows a worldwide trend toward greater reproductive freedom for women, not less, which makes the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision—and the United States in general—an outlier. Abortion is still largely illegal in many countries coded as improving access—but exceptions in cases such as rape, incest, or saving the life of the pregnant woman have been made.

Continued: https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/06/24/roe-v-wade-overturned-global-abortion-laws/

Mexican state of Baja California Sur decriminalizes abortion up to 12 weeks

June 3, 2022

The Congress of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur (northwest) approved
this Thursday the decriminalization of abortion up to 12 weeks of gestation,
which adds up to nine Mexican districts with similar legislation.

The reform to the State Criminal Code to allow the free interruption of
pregnancy was approved with 16 votes in favor and 3 against.

Continued: https://blazetrends.com/mexican-state-of-baja-california-sur-decriminalizes-abortion-up-to-12-weeks/

As US States Restrict Abortion Access, Mexican States Expand It

Guerrero Latest Mexican State to Decriminalize the Procedure

Regina Tamés, Deputy Director, Women's Rights Division
May 30, 2022

The southern Mexican state of Guerrero recently became Mexico’s eighth state to decriminalize abortion on request. It follows a wave of states doing so, which started with Mexico City in 2007; Oaxaca in 2019; Hidalgo, Veracruz, Coahuila, and Colima in 2021; and Sinaloa in March of 2022.

This legislative success comes after Mexico’s 2021 Supreme Court ruling that declared unconstitutional the total criminalization of abortion in the state of Coahuila. For the first time, the country’s highest court unequivocally recognized that criminalization of abortion violates the human rights of pregnant people, such as the right to life, to health, and to be free from violence.  

Continued: https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/05/30/us-states-restrict-abortion-access-mexican-states-expand-it

Postcard from Mexico: The US threat to abortion rights

Revisiting Roe v Wade could set back Latin America’s progress towards a more enlightened stance, says Melissa Ayala Garcia

27 MAY 2022
Melissa Ayala Garcia

While attending law school Roe v Wade was a touchstone piece of law. I would constantly revisit it, trying to decode the US Supreme Court’s legal arguments. I wanted to understand why the justices had argued for the right to have an abortion, and how that could be applied to Mexico.

The Supreme Court draft that was leaked last month made me feel a roller-coaster of emotions since it is proof that conservatives can strip away our rights. And it has come at a time when Latin American women are seeing some gains on abortion rights.

Continued: https://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/the-world-today/2022-06/postcard-mexico-us-threat-abortion-rights