PHILIPPINES: CATHOLIC CHURCH SENDS WOMEN TO THEIR DOOM

Filipino women are trapped in a vicious circle.
While on one hand the Catholic Church strictly prohibits contraception,
poverty on the other strictly prohibits more children. The result
is an extremely high abortion rate. An estimated 320,000 to 480,000
women resort to abortion every year, that are 20 to 30 out of
every 1,000 women of childbearing age

source: Rationalist International, Bulletin # 71 (30 April 2001)

PHILIPPINES: CATHOLIC CHURCH SENDS WOMEN TO THEIR DOOM

Filipino women are trapped in a vicious circle.
While on one hand the Catholic Church strictly prohibits contraception,
poverty on the other strictly prohibits more children. The result
is an extremely high abortion rate. An estimated 320,000 to 480,000
women resort to abortion every year, that are 20 to 30 out of
every 1,000 women of childbearing age; in the metro Manila it
is even 50. Another statistic says that 16 per cent of all pregnancies
ends in induced abortion (source: the recently published State
of the Philippine Population Report 2000).

Abortion is not only illegal in Philippines. Due
to the influence of the Catholic Church it is as well a very strong
social taboo. Women forced to discontinue pregnancy have to do
this clandestinely and would not even admit having done it, if
they suffer severe medical complications, because they are afraid
of ridicule, criminal liability and social stigma. The methods
of abortion are horrifying: for example insertion of sharp objects
into the uterus or drinking of chemicals or toxic substances.
Abortion is the fourth leading cause of death among Filipino women
and causes many permanent disabilities.

Despite the steady rise of abortion, the population
keeps growing at a rate of 2.3 per cent every year, and if not
stopped, the country’s 75 million people will double within the
next 35 years.

It has been one of former Philippine President Joseph
Estrada’s merits that he made up his mind to propagate birth control.
In an interview in May 1999, he announced that he was ready to
defy the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on contraception, because
he felt responsible for the welfare of the population of his country
(see Bulletin # 11). The wrath of the Catholic Church against
him has been the major factor for Estrada’s forceful ouster from
power in January this year.

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