Thursday, April 8, 2010

Abortion in the Philippines: Issues on Population Control and the Ban on the Reproductive Health Bill

Abortion is legally not allowed in the Philippines. Women who induced abortion on their own for their unplanned or unwanted pregnancy faced up to 6 years in jail. There are no legal abortion clinics or any abortion or pro-choice centers in Manila. The Catholic Church has a great influence over the law here and any pro-choice movement would instantly be squashed.

The only abortion allowed in the Philippines is under the medical discretion of an OB-gynecologist. If the pregnancy will cause the death of the mother or if the fetus is already dead, just a sac, without a heartbeat or a blighted ovum. A medical miscarriage maybe induced through the use of Mifepristone, Misoprostol (cytotec) followed possibly by a D&E (dilation and evacuation) procedure commonly known by Filipinos as "Raspa" (which means to scrape off) to ensure no dead tissue is left inside the uterus.

Senator Juan Flavier used to have a population control program that offered free condoms and contraceptives at health centers. With a shift in power and President Arroyo courting the influence of the Catholic Church to be on her side has stopped the Population control program and the USAID donations of contraceptives to please the archbishops. Now the Filipino people are on their own. With the church promoting abstinence as a method to curve the population boom, women now have to suffer. Only the working class and the rich can afford medical contraception and family planning.

Photo by Cheryl Ravelo | Reuters News

Abortion maybe illegal in the Philippines, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It is talked about, but never publicly. No woman would ever dare admit to an abortion due to the shame, gossip and moral outrage of the community.

Still, there are Filipino women often too poor, with no means to buy contraceptives and are raising an average of 7-10 children that are left to the mercy of hilots (healers or massagers) that is, if they choose to undergo a backstreet abortion rather than raising another child they are unable to care for.

For an investigative report on abortion, please refer to the Reuters news article - Abortion in the Philippines: a national secret

According to the International Family Planning Perspectives, Filipinas obtain abortions—often in unsafe conditions—to avoid unplanned births. In 1994, the estimated abortion rate was 25 per 1,000 women per year.

Where women go for abortions in the Philippines:

Hilots (healers or massagers) are sought out in communities. The deed is done in backalleys, shanties or privately rented rooms such as motels and apartelles.

Quiapo Church. Ironically, abortificients such as herbal cocktails and the ulcer drug Misoprostol (cytotec) are sold by peddlers around the Church area. There are what you call spotters who will ask women and passerbys if they are interested to avail of the drug. The police conducts annual raids with the media in tow. 

Self-induced or self-injury methods. This ranges from throwing yourself off a flight of stairs, asking to get punched in the belly, jumping around till you bleed, coathangers, catheters and everything gruesome. Any possible method to land in a hospital to get a D&E.

Sadly, most who self abort are teenagers and most end up dead due to complications and injury.

I guess what should be promoted by the government is not an abortion or an anti-abortion sentiment, but rather make safe-sex education and free contraception available to the public

Reproductive health bill: Facts, fallacies
NYTimes Philippines abortion crisis
The RH bill: Ending Manila City's war on women


  1. abortion should be legalized in the philippines...because even if we are going to stop this it still exist in our country today......anyway the population of the philippines is getting as a concern citizen, we need to do an order to save the country from poverty...specially nowadays that teenagers were so inclined to use internet and gain access to any site that exploits sexuallity

    1. what a satanic morality is that??? wishing to legalize abortion? as a Christian we must strongly fight for our stand and show to the world what Christians are no matter what it takes.

    2. yah thats real dpat tlga i legal na ang abortion sa in canada and us legal ang abortion dpat dto dn sa pinas...

    3. tama dapat talaga na yang abortion dito sa philippines...kse dahil sa pag.illegal nito maraming buhay ang napapahamak ...dahilan sa kung ano-anu na ang ini-inom ma-abort lang yung bata..isa rin itong right ng mother mg.decide what to do with its life...we should open open our own eyes and decide for our own ...and not following to what others just say...

  2. abortion exists, sadly yes! BUT to legalize this murderous evil? against a defenseless kid because of an error of judgement of its parent and FAILURE of ontraception, will never solve anything but incur in us the wrath of GOD, evil cannot be solved by legalizing evil because it exists, but to fight evil, with good. JESUS is life, the giver of life, and the ONLY taker of life and if passing bills that are ANTI LIFE, makes us ANTI LIFE - then we should reflect so many times where our priorities are since that will make us ANTI - JESUS. EVIL ALWAYS BEGETS MORE EVIL. We should start where we can help others who are experiencing poverty even in our own small own way, person to person, not rely on the government always to find solutions, to use our taxes to give free contraception, whereas this could already be used for food, medicines, healthcare for the streetchildren and the old. And to teach our young that TRUE LOVE WAITS, waits to get married before they engage in sex. the most effective contraception?? CLOSE THOSE LEGS! FREE!

    1. correct I really appreciate you for that:)

    2. I wish these do good catholics would wake up, so some girl gets raped how is it right the woman should have to keep it, so many starving kids on the street when does the church help those kids that people walk buy over there when there begging for food fi the pill was more available and condoms that would,nt be the church is out dated and needs to go that is the last country it has a hold on and as for saying hold back from sex, wake up its a natural thing that all humans do animals all of us you cant tell people not to do something that comes naturally between two people. Its a shame some of these catholic did,nt hold back from playing with young boys nothing said about that is there.

  3. san po ba yung malapit na clinic dito sa pilipinas ?

  4. errrm. this is a late reply, but:

    a chicken egg is not a chicken. an embryo is not a kid. comparing abortion to murder is stupid and childish.

    if a woman really finds it morally wrong to abort, she would not do so, even if abortion becomes legally and easily available. legalizing abortion is all about offering another CHOICE.

    legalizing abortion is one way to ensure the safety and health of women who would otherwise go to masahistas or get abortions in situations that endanger their lives, i.e. back alley abortions. ive been to one, i know what it looks like, and if a woman is perfectly willing to undergo such a traumatic procedure, then you know she's made up her mind.

    you cannot deny that we're moving into a modern world. there is sex on television, sex on the radio, sex on the internet. sexuality is on the rise, and a short trip to a shanty town (where one of the favorite past times is sex, and at times even group sex) will enlighten you to this fact. admonishing our children to close their legs is as useless as admonishing them to close their eyes during a naughty part in a movie. they will always peek.

    i'm pro-choice, and all for legalized abortion. i'm a working mother, and i've had an abortion. my body, my morals, my choice. bite me.

    1. a sperm cell and an egg cell has life that's why when they meet they can create a new being. My point is killing this sperm and egg is as bad as murder because life is within this cells. Remember we are once a cell, if our parents used that artificial birth control even before we might not exist today. As good Christians we must always listen our heart because the truth is in our hearts.

    2. to anonymous,

      I respect your decision and I agree on your perspective. those who condemn other women for choosing abortion doesn't know the feeling of desperation and helplessness these women feel when they have no more food or money to support themselves much more their children. CHOICE is what all women should have.

  5. @anonymous from april 27: head to quiapo and ask the vendors. do it at your own risk, though. unsanitary conditions, no anesthetics, sometimes three patients in a bed.

  6. Heck the poor women can't even obtain a divorce, talk about a nation cowed and held in check by the Roman Catholics.

  7. WHAT POVERTY?! You would KILL unwanted babies for POVERTY?!

  8. "With the church promoting abstinence as a method to curve the population boom, women now have to suffer. Only the working class and the rich can afford medical contraception and family planning."

    so sexual abstinence is such a painful and devastating suffering only women have?, plus is it that really a big of a deal for people to lessen their sexual activities or conform to natural methods like calendar and withdrawal instead of artificial methods.

    we have to solve the problem by eliminating the crisis, not eliminating the child.

  9. @Anon may 19 12:22
    "a chicken egg is not a chicken."
    BUT the egg once a little developed already has an under developed chick inside

    "an embryo is not a kid."
    wrong! it's an under developed human being that is at the start of its development stage.

    "legalizing abortion is all about offering another CHOICE."
    if i hate someone why can't i just kill him/her? how come I cannot make that CHOICE? because it's illegal, and/or it's bad/evil/sinful. just like abortion for those who does not see it for the sin and the wrong act it is, better to leave it as illegal CHOICE.

    "you cannot deny that we're moving into a modern world.... etc"
    how should i put this. I don't know what kind of environment you were raised in because I certainly never imagined myself to a group sex or considered sex as a past time. So i do believe your statement
    "admonishing our children to close their legs is as useless..."
    doesn't give much meaning, because not all parents are dumb enough not to be able to teach/discipline or embed moral values into their children, na mas nangingibabaw pa ang impluwensya ng porno kaysa sa mga salita nila, i feel a mix of pity and sadness for those kinds of parents

    again just to assert and reiterate my point about ""admonishing our children to close their legs is as useless..."
    nasa magulang yan, kung wala kang tiwala sa sarili mo na kaya mong magpalaki ng anak sa magulong mundo, aba eh kasalanan mo yan at hindi mo dapat tulungan ang ibang taong magkasala(abortion or whatever birthcontrol pill) dahil sa sarili mong kahinaan

  10. @@@-WHAT POVERTY?! You would KILL unwanted babies for POVERTY?!

    -an example of speaking w/o thinking,,,

    so kidz dont die in the streets after being born because of poverty?
    by being run over by busses on the streets or even brutally killed by their own parents.
    I think you havent red the newspapers lately,,,
    the world is diffrent now!
    and the phils is gonna get worst in the future!
    thanks to not so Intelligent creatures like you, and our Geniuses in the Government who thinks nothing but keep themselves wealthy!

  11. I agree with the anonymous commenter who underwent abortion.

    We cannot stop women who would want an abortion, especially those who have made up their minds and are desperate. We cannot judge them as immoral people because times of desperation can push these women to do these things. In a country where important information about contraception is not easily accessible especially to impoverished women, these things will really happen.

  12. will keep your legs close if your going to have sex then tack what comes with it and 4 all the griles out there that would do this i think it should happen to u all u know the baby feel pain to if it has a heart beat it is alive and if u dont want the baby give it to some one that want a baby they are ever were i know my sister want a baby so bad but she cant have one y not give it to some one that dose want the baby and will love it if u dont love the baby dont kill it it your falt u got nock up so y not give it to some one i dont care how pure eny one is that dont mean go kill your baby i whis ever person that dos that to a baby should be don the same way y know it can feel ever thin u do to it

  13. sa totoo lang ang mga kabataan ngayon ay nagmamadali sa buhay.....imbes na isipin ang dapat isipin sa tamang edad nila ay iba na ang iniisip.... naghahanap talaga ng gulo.... naghahanap ng problema.....ang mga iniisip ninyo ngayon ay baka makasama sa inyo ang gagawin ninyo....malay mo may mas magandang bukas ang naghihintay sa inyo.....ang mga iniisip ninyong pag aandergo ng sex ay mga curiousity lang yan ninyo pero.....ang maaring resulta ay pang habang buhay baka magsisi ka sa huli...kaya makinig sa mga magulang at kung pagagalitan man ay tanggapin ninyo at isiping pagkakamali lamang iyo......maging masaya tayo kung ano ang mayroon tayo at maging kuntento sa buhay...... HUWAG MAGMAMADALI "LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST"

  14. can anyone help me? sino po pede mairefer niyo na ob for post abortion care? thanks.

    1. same here looking for someone hu can help me.

  15. s tanang mga pro rh adto mo'g america pag losi

  16. for those who are pro-rh, why don't you go to u.s or america to enjoy your craving and desperateness!!!! you selfish !!!!

  17. thats right! why don't you just fly to US or somewhere else where abortion is legal. the heck, you liberated people!!