Women in the Philippines, a heavily Catholic country with strong “pro-life” laws, are agitating for birth control access. They’re arguing that being unable to plan their families is having “a devastating effect on their lives … causing unwanted pregnancies, pushing them further into poverty and harming their health and wellbeing.” And what does a “pro-life” country like the Philippines look like?
The policy has hit poorest people the hardest, they say, forcing people to choose between a packet of pills or food for their families.
Several of the petitioners have had many more children than they wanted – some at the expense of their health – because they could not afford to pay for contraception.
The policy also exposed women to violence from husbands who did not want to abstain from sex, the rights groups found in an earlier report, and meant more women were resorting to illegal and unsafe abortions.
Mr Atienza is no longer mayor – he is now secretary for the Department of Environment – and his replacement Alfredo Lim is currently looking at the issue.
But EO 003 remains in place and there are no plans to start providing free contraceptives again – not even condoms for sex workers.
Unsurprisingly, divorce is also illegal in the Philippines. Almost 40 percent of men in the Philippines admit to beating up their wives. Between 1.8 to 3.2 million children in the Philippines are exposed to domestic violence. The lack of access to contraception and the unavailability of divorce means that many Filipina women are utterly trapped — which is exactly where “pro-life” groups think women should be.
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