Family planning prevents abortion among Filipino women

Filipino families shun illegal, induced and unsafe abortions

THE Commission on Population (POPCOM) warned that “induced abortions among Filipino women may rise” if the country does not have any comprehensive reproductive health (RH) program in place, and working.

A comprehensive RH program makes available to women, couples, their adolescent children, and their families — especially those who have less in life — a full range of contraceptive methods, free of charge if not low cost, and where family planning (FP) information and services are responsive to the needs of the clients across the nation.

The Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Act of 2012, signed in December of the same year, guarantees universal access to contraceptive methods, sexuality education, and maternal and child care. President Duterte administration fully supports modern, artificial and safe FP methods. Progressive quarters within the Catholic Church are open-spirited to the ideals of responsible parenthood. The RPRH Law, however, is pending full implementation with the Supreme Court.

POPCOM Executive Director, Dr Juan Antonio A Perez III, cautioned, there is a strong “possibility of rising induced abortions among Filipino women who are already faced with increasing numbers of unintended pregnancies.” Worldwide, 15 percent of maternal deaths are due to induced as against spontaneous abortions, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Perez predicted, “the increase in unintended pregnancies in the last 18 months has also seen an increase in induced abortions.” In many countries of the world, he pointed out, the availability of all methods of family planning, especially modern artificial methods, have brought abortion rates down.

Illegal abortion widespread in the Philippines

ABORTION done in secret is rampant in The Philippines, reported the Guttmacher Institute in the US.

Abortion is either induced or spontaneous. Induced abortion is the intentional termination of a pregnancy before the fetus can live independently. It can be medically done based on a woman’s personal choice, or to preserve the health, if not save, the life of a pregnant woman. Spontaneous abortion, on the other hand, is commonly known as miscarriage.

“Abortion is illegal under all circumstances and there are no explicit exceptions,” Guttmacher noted. “But because of high levels of unintended pregnancy, abortion is common in the country.” Inability to raise children, especially among the poorest households, is one of the many reasons for abortion.

Sixty percent of respondents in a research on abortion* cited not using FP at all for “fear of side effects,” while others responded “not knowing FP or where to get FP,” as most important reasons for their behavior.

Nearly all abortions are clandestine and carry associated risks, Guttmacher observed. About 1,000 Filipino women die each year from abortion complications, which contributes to the nation’s high maternal mortality rate. In the country, 100,000 women were hospitalized for abortion complications in 2012. Countless others suffered complications that went untreated, it added.

Filipino families shun illegal, induced and unsafe abortions. “And the RPRH Law is our staunchest defense against induced abortions in the country,” Dr Perez concluded. #


*Book, Unsafe Abortion in The Philippines: A Threat to Public Health by Corazon M Raymundo and team (2001).