After the talks about the abortion law in Georgia, many Filipinos have shared their thoughts about the topic.
The Philippines is a very Catholic country. If you graduated from a Catholic school like me, then you have probably attended a symposium about being pro-life and not pro-choice. For the longest time, I was taught to believe that abortion was the biggest sin you could commit – something you can never go back from. It’s both true and untrue.
Abortion is the termination of pregnancy. People think it’s that simple, but there is actually more to it.
In the 1987 Philippine Constitution Article II, it says, in “Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.” In articles 256, 258 and 259 of the Revised Penal Code, the act is criminalized, and women who undergo the procedure and anyone who assists them will be imprisoned. This is the case even if the abortion needs to be done to save a woman’s life. There is no law that authorizes the action if the mother faces life-threatening situations or illnesses.
A lot of women get pregnant everyday; and in 2012, an estimated 610,000 abortions are said to have taken place. Since this is illegal in our country, more than 1,000 women die each year because of unsafe abortion procedures.
Though the Philippines has a Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 or R.A. 10354; it only covers the access of methods of contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and, maternal care. It doesn’t cover comprehensive HIV/AIDS education or abortion education, which should really be a part of it.
It is highly unlikely for abortion to be legalized in the Philippines and it’s also far from reaching the table for discussion, but it should be. According to the Center for Women’s Resource, the number of rape cases in the Philippines reached an alarming level back in 2010; this includes incest and blood relative cases.
Rape victims who get pregnant by their abuser can’t opt to have an abortion because it’s highly illegal in the Philippines. Some rape cases for children less than 13 years old also can’t have access to the procedure even it has been argued that their bodies are not ready for pregnancy.
The discussion about the topic is not just for the law, but also on how individuals can be helped in certain situations.