Philippines women’s groups call for legalised abortions

More and more women would die from complications arising from unsafe abortions in the Philippines, warned the country’s women’s groups, as they called for abortions to be legalised.

According to the Centre for Reproductive Rights, more than half a million Filipino women undergo illegal abortions every year. Of these, an estimated 90,000 women suffer complications with about 1,000 dying eventually.

The women’s groups said it is time for the predominantly Roman Catholic country to allow for safe and legal abortion, to save thousands of women from undergoing crude and unsafe procedures.

“The criminalisation of abortion has not prevented the procedure, but made it unsafe. In all cases, the ban leads to one frightening direction – that of painful risky and potentially fatal methods of pregnancy termination,” Centre for Reproductive Rights Melissa Upreti said.

Although abortion is illegal in the Philippines, government hospitals are mandated to provide post-abortion care treatment to women.

In the Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital for instance, more than half of the women who seek treatment are for complications arising from illegal and unsafe abortions.

Dr Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital Dr Emmanel Ganal said most abortion cases were due to unwanted pregnancy.

“Those that are induced are usually unwanted pregnancies. It’s either they don’t want the pregnancy, or they have reasons like they want to go abroad so they induced it. They take some medications to remove the pregnancy,” he said.

For now, women’s rights groups are hoping that the new Congress would be able to pass a controversial Reproductive Health bill, that the influential Catholic Church opposed last year.

That piece of legislation would uphold the use of artificial contraceptives and institutionalise sex education in schools.

That would hopefully help prevent more cases of unsafe abortion in the country.

Part of a longer article at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/southeastasia/view/1075675/1/.html



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