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Abortions in the philippines are illegal. It has been illegal for over a century and that is very unlikely to change. Though it isn’t a subject I’ve discussed with Filipino it is my perception the majority of Filipino would agree with that ban. Despite that, it is estimated there are over 500,000 illegal abortions in the Philippines each year.
I take no position regarding abortions in the Philippines. While I often take neutral positions because I am concerned about ruffling feathers of influential Filipinos and it is illegal for foreigners to protest in the Philippines. That’s not my primary reason in this case. In this case, I am uncertain about what is right and wrong. Even in the USA, it is not a factor I consider when voting. However, in American politics I am very concerned about others imposing their moral believes upon me. So the candidates I tend to vote for are likely to be pro let the individual decide in most things that matter to me. I have free speech in the USA and I do not have it here. This is an extremely touchy subject in the Philippines. I have seen regulations making it illegal to even bring information about contraceptives into the Philippines. I do not know if those regulations are still in effect.
Many Illegal Abortions In The Philippines
With so many legitimate arguments both for and against abortion, who am I to tell anyone what is right or wrong on this subject. To tell an entire nation, one with a often different set of religious beliefs from my own, to tell it what is right. I’m certainly not that person. Regardless, I must still be careful about what I write regarding abortions in the Philippines. There are some facts I’d like to talk about though.
I wrote an article about abortion in the Philippines on this site a couple of years ago. Since that time, I have noticed a lot of people in the Philippines finding my site while looking for information on the rate of abortion in the Philippines. I’ve seen a lot of searches seeking information for abortion clinics in Cebu. That one always caught my interest. That is because, one is very unlikely to find abortion clinics advertised on the Internet. There seems to be quite a few people in the Philippines seeking information on how to get an abortion.
The punishment for a woman that has an abortion is prison of two to six years. Medical professionals that perform abortions are subject to having their license suspended or revoked. I don’t think there are many prosecutions for this. I would think that it would likely get considerable coverage in the press as it is a scandal. The press loves a good scandal because humans love them. Scandals sell! I have never seen a report for charges brought for this crime.
In 1987, the Catholic Bishops pushed for and had success for protection of “the life of the unborn from conception” in the constitution. It is not only a law but abortion in the Philippines is prevented right in its constitution. From conception would seem to make the morning after pill unconstitutional as well some other commonly used methods of contraception.
Abortions in the Philippines Often Leads To Death
Many women here attempt abortions through a medication. There is one out there that works but I don’t know if it is readily available in the Philippines. Either it doesn’t work or the women don’t know how to use. I’ve known quite a few ladies that told me they tried it.
Abortions that do happen here are often carried out by midwives. It is a painful and dangerous procedure and common knowledge n the Philippines. I do know one woman that had one. She said it was extremely painful It is commonly called abdominal message.
It seems that making abortions illegal does not prevent all abortions. With half a million abortions taking place in the Philippines each year that seems clear. These abortions result in over 1000 deaths and 90,000 complications within the Philippines according to the Center for Reproductive Rights which I am pretty sure is an American non-profit organization.
This organization claims that when women seek out help from hospitals, they are often subjected to ridicule at these hospitals. Sometimes they are made to wait for treatment and are scolded by hospital personnel. I’ve seen reports in the Philippines press that confirm this. It causes many women to delay seeking treatment, sometimes until it is to late to save their lives.
A large number of Filipinos are also opposed to any “unnatural” contraceptives. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church. Anyone who thinks that the majority of Filipinos do not take their faith in God and the Catholic Church seriously has a fundamental misunderstanding of Filipino culture. A misunderstanding so profound that I suspect their ability to correctly interpret what goes on in the Philippines is hopeless.
One Filipina that now lives overseas drove that point home to me with a few words. She said something like if a Filipina can afford to get oral contraceptives and there is a death or other hardship in her family that she will likely believe it is a punishment from God and cease taking the medication. Based on what I know of Filipinos this seems plausible to me.
With so many Filipino just trying to get three meals a day, money for such “luxuries” is out of the question. In the Manila area, one mayor forced public health clinics to stop offering contraceptives. If I recall correctly a court has since come in to lift that order.
President Aquino came into office and soon released a plan to educate Filipino and provide free contraceptives to the public. This was met with heavy resistance. At one time it was one of his priority measures. He removed it from his list of priorities later. I suspect he realized he was putting the rest of his plans in jeopardy if he continued to push this into law. He likely would have trouble getting anything done with the religious leaders along with many influential private citizens extremely angry with him. A year and a half later, one doesn’t see many headlines on his proposed legislation any more. I suspect we might see this return to a higher priority once his one six year term is closer to its end point.
The Politics of Family Planning in the Philippines
Catholics often believe it is an affront to God’s will to use artificial contraceptives. My first reaction to that was, “Do you really think you can thwart God’s will with a pill?” Looking a little deeper though, it seems those leaders don’t think so either. But, the attempt to do so is a sin they object to. They have a moral position and they are going to stick to it. Perhaps more people should have such strong moral convictions. I won’t find fault in that even when I might disagree. They hold it, they believe it and I find standing up for what you believe to be deserving of respect.
They often believe that easy access to contraceptive will increase promiscuity. I don’t know. The urge to reproduce may not feel like an urge to reproduce but that is basically what it is. That urge is very strong, especially in the young. That urge is going to be strong regardless of protection from pregnancy or not.
Those opposed to contraception often believe it is a slippery slope to the path of abortion. Some Filipinos were fighting the family planning bill as if it included abortion. It didn’t. Could it lead to abortion in the Philippines? I don’t think so as there are just too many people in the Philippines that are opposed to abortions. A change in that does not seem likely in the foreseeable future. I can’t see that happening in my lifetime.
One thing seems certain to me, the harder it is to get contraceptives the more unwanted pregnancies will happen. The more unwanted pregnancies will increase the number of abortions. That means more deaths and serious complications will occur from the illegal abortions. I personally don’t think God is at all hung up with sex outside of marriage. He cares about our causing emotional pain to others. I know most don’t share this belief but that’s okay, I will continue to believe it.
Simply making abortions in the Philippines illegal will not prevent abortions any more than it will prevent the usage of drugs. It probably does reduce the number though. Easy access to contraceptives would likely reduce the number of abortions in the Philippines. Still many Filipinos have moral objections to contraception and is a matter for Filipinos to decide. With or without easy access to contraceptives there will still be abortions in the Philippines.
Please tell us your thoughts about abortion in the Philippines. I’d love to hear from you. As always, I love to hear from Filipino and that is especially true on this subject.
Filed under: Filipino Culture
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