Gov't urged: Legalize abortion, divorce

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 04 2010 04:37 PM | Updated as of Aug 05 2010 12:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Award-winning journalist and novelist Ninotchka Rosca has called on the government to legalize abortion, amid claims that current rules have caused a human rights crisis.

In a statement, the Filipina feminist based in the United States also said she is in favor of “sex education in schools and of reproductive health, of divorce and other freedoms and equality for women.”

She said: “It is self-defeating to ask women to struggle for control of a nation and then expect them not to wield control over their bodies.”

Based on Wikipedia, Rosca is the author of the novels State of War and Twice Blessed. She won the American Book Award for excellence in literature in 1993 for the latter.

She was forced to leave for Hawaii following threats from the dictatorial government of Ferdinand Marcos.

EnGendeRights executive director Clara Rita Padilla disclosed on Tuesday a report saying that “the illegality of abortion does not stop abortion but only makes it dangerous for the health and lives of Filipino women.”

Based on the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights report entitled, “Forsaken Lives: The Harmful Impact of the Philippine Criminal Abortion Ban,” about half a million Filipino women induce abortion yearly because of various reasons including rape and dire socio-economic reasons.

Of this number, about 1,000 die and 90,000 hospitalized due to complications from unsafe abortion.

The ban on abortion is traced to the Spanish colonization of the country. It was lifted from the old Spanish Penal Code of 1870.

Last February 24, Spain approved a new law on abortion that further eased restrictions.

“Spain has liberalized its laws to allow abortion on broad grounds and yet we are left to contend with our old colonial laws. Other predominantly Catholic countries that allow abortion are Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, and Hungary,” Padilla said.