Abortion and Family Planning Law in the Philippines

by Thailand Lawyer on July 8, 2011

The Catholic Church has been leading a crusade in the Philippines against a piece of legislation called the Reproductive Health Bill for months now.

The church has been successful in blocking similar bills in the Philippines for over a decade, and has again been leading its faithful followers to organize protests against passage of the bill for the sake of traditional family life and family values.

Supporters of the bill (House Bill 4244) believe that it is has a good chance of passage when the 15th Congress goes into section next month. The bill, along with a similar bill sponsored by the Senate, promote birth control methods and sex education in schools, among other provisions to provide family planning resources to poor families.

Although proponents of the bill state that it will provide a huge step forward for women’s rights and women’s health, opponents such as the Catholic Church state that it could lead to higher rate of amoral behavior, abortions, divorce, and same-sex marriage.

The Reproductive Health Bill has left Filipinos sharply divided, as more than 86% of the population is Roman Catholic.

If this bill passes, it would set a precedent in the Philippines, and perhaps shows evidence of a widening gap between traditional family practices and the unique challenges faced as societies worldwide continue to become more globalized.

With a furthering of women’s health rights and restructuring of influence in family planning, a divorce law might not be too far down the road if this current bill is approved.

Although Thailand divorce is legal, abortion is just as illegal as in the Philippines. Although Thais are not Catholic, their Buddhist principles entail a pro-life standpoint. It was only just last November that a little over 2,000 fetuses were discovered inside a Thai temple, believed to have been placed there to cover an illegal abortion practice. The buried bodies of  fetuses found in Thailand shocked the Thai public, although a change in abortion law has yet to occur and does not appear to receive popular support.

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