Group airs call to legalize abortion in the Philippines

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 12 2010 11:49 PM | Updated as of Aug 13 2010 07:49 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Abortion should be legalized in the country, according to an international women’s rights group.

EnGendeRights said the law against abortion in the Philippines has forced many women who have unwanted pregnancies to resort to having unsafe abortions.

“Dahil ilegal ang abortion, nagkakaroon ng stigma kapag nag-induce ang isang babae ng unsafe abortion. Kahit dinudugo na siya at halos ikamatay, hindi siya pupunta sa ospital,” said lawyer Clara Rita Padilla, executive director of EnGendeRights.

In an interview with ABS-CBN’s “TV Patrol,” Padilla claimed that around 1.32 million women undergo unsafe abortions across the country annually. 

She added that the number of abortions rose 800% in the last 18 years, with around three women dying every day because of complications arising from having abortions in hole-in-the-wall “clinics.” The clinics allegedly earn around P6.6 billion annually from the illicit practice.

“Maganda sana kung maibibigay ang safe and legal abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Spain allows abortion up to 14 weeks,” she said.

However, she said that legalizing abortion in the Philippines will have to rely on society’s readiness to accept the method as a safe way of terminating unwanted pregnancies caused by rape, danger to health and life of the woman, and fetal impairment.

As expected, the call to legalize abortion was not met well. 

Pro-Life Philippines executive director Marita Wasan lashed out at some women’s rights groups and organizations promoting reproductive health. 

“Ang contraception kasi yan ang fino-front nila, para mapaprubahan at gawing legal ang abortion,” she said. “Maraming pag-aaral na nakakasira ito sa kalusugan ng isang nanay at nakaka-encourage ito ng promiscuity.”

Wasan added that there is no such thing as a “safe abortion.” “Pagkitil ng buhay, that is (against) a commandment of God,” she stressed.