Contraception in the Philippines
I feel like I need to let readers know about this subject. Not in order to agree with it or disagree with it. I think I know how most Westerners feel on this subject but I must say once again, this is the Philippines. It is not the West.
As I recall, it is illegal to bring contraception literature into the Philippines. It is important for me to say to new readers, the Philippines does not want foreigners protesting their policies and culture. That means, keeping our mouth shuts. We are to observe and learn. Disagreeing with any public figure could be considered a violation of this law.
I’ve started to write on this subject a couple of times but then backed away. I did so because it is such a fire cracker issue in the Philippines and I can’t run the risk of appearing too choose sides. I think though, I can share it as a way of gaining additional insight to the culture of the Philippines and what is important to Filipino.
The Church in Philippine Politics
Some Filipino I’ve spoken to, don’t like to see priest speaking of politics from the pulpit. I didn’t much like it in the USA myself. It is a big part of politics in the Philippines. Making an enemy of the church in the Philippines would likely cause your future opportunities to be severely limited.
Artificial vs Natural Conception
It is a touchy subject. The Catholic Church has weighed in heavily on the subject. With a new president in power in the Philippines, the Catholic officials are sending messages to him from the pulpit. I don’t know what his position is. They are invoking the name of much loved politician who died not too long ago who was not a fan of artificial contraception. She just happens to be his mother too.
The prior administration was openly in favor of natural family planning, primarily abstention as birth control. I think the rhythm method is also approved of within this group but I doubt it applies to everyone in the natural contraception camp.
In the last couple of years, some lawmakers have proposed reform in this Philippine contraception policy. They propose making artificial contraception easier to obtain and that has caused a lot of public debate.
Some of those opposed to it claim that it will lead to legal abortions in the Philippines. According to t he UN, they are legal now, but only when the mothers life is in danger. There is a chance that more legislation has been passed even outlawing that though. The UN report I read was from around 2000.
I found an article on a pro-life website that puts forth the idea that the USA sees contraception in Asia as a matter of national security. A shocking position to take?
What are the motives of population control?
The American bases have been dismantled but imperialism is very much around and it comes in the form of contraceptive imperialism which most Filipinos barely notice. This is explicit in the National Security Study Memorandum 200 – a US intelligence declassified document which reveals US and UN motives in limiting the population of the Philippines and many other countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia, in the Pacific and Caribbean. The document dealt specifically on the relationship between increasing less developed country populations and future US access to resources and favorable trade policies … and the possibility of accelerated … anti-imperialist movements as a consequence of larger number of persons in Door nations. The control of foreign populations becomes a matter of US industrial and military security.
That article will provide some insight, I don’t know how widespread this position is though. The article also repeats the slippery slope to abortion argument. It also seems to be holding that overpopulation in the Philippines is a myth or that having a lot of children doesn’t increase the poverty rate. Did I read that right?
Contraceptives are allowed in the Philippines. The controversy is over government support of “artificial contraception.” There have been policies in place in some areas that caused some medical facilities to refuse to provide these items. Generally though, these products are available. However most Filipino will not use most of them. Some want to see government backed educational campaigns promoting these materials and for the government to provide or subsidize these materials. Again, the article is not about the legislation and politics, its about the insights that can be gained by observing the controversy.
In any case, I think this issue gives a little more insight into the kultura Filipino (Filipino Culture). Speaking of which, I need to go to Kultura Filipino next month and get me some fine Filipino cigars. Okay, so I want too. I like to go to the Pizza Pub, grab a table outside and enjoy a Filipino made cigar while I observe life in the Philippines and flirt with a pretty girl when one gives me the chance. Do that and leave the politics and social issues of the Filipino to the Filipino.
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