START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
890,618 people care about Women's Rights

Catholic Church Blocks Birth Control For Poor in Philippines

Catholic Church Blocks Birth Control For Poor in Philippines

Filipino President Bernard Aquino is backing a bill that promises free or subsidized contraception for women, especially for the poor. As a story in Bloomberg describes, the bill was actually introduced in the legislature 14 years ago but has been blocked every time by the Catholic Church. About 37 percent of pregnancies in the Philippines are unplanned, says the World Health Organization, with at least one-third ending in an illegal and highly unsafe abortion, says the Guttmacher Institute.

Moreover, it is the poorest fifth of the country’s population that has the highest birth rate. The 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey found that the poorest women have an average of 5.2 children, while the wealthiest women have an average of 1.9. In addition, 44.1 percent of women aged 15 to 24 in the bottom income bracket have begun to have children. The Bloomberg article opens with the story of 34-year-old Lorna Villar, who has given birth seven times in the past fourteen years. She and her family live in one of Manila’s poorest neighborhoods, Tondo, in a 215 square foot room, on the 7,000 pesos ($160) a month that her husband earns from driving cranes and a tricycle taxi.

The Guttmacher Institute estimates that by making modern birth control — the contraceptive pill, condoms, intrauterine devices and others — available to all women in the Philippines, there would be 2,100 fewer maternal deaths and 500,000 fewer induced abortions each year. According to Bloomberg, 34 percent of Filipina women aged 15 to 49 use modern birth control.

The country’s population growth is currently twice the average for Asian countries; its self-rated poverty rate was 52 percent in 2012. As activist Carlos Cedran points out, with the Philippines’ population nearing 100 million, a lot more has to be done than just “teaching the poor.” Likhaan, a non-governmental organization that provides modern birth control and where Villar had her IUD fitted, says that providing contraceptive to all Filipina women means go a long way to reducing unplanned pregnancies in young women and improve their economic circumstances. Currently women wait as long as two hours to obtain condoms and birth-control pills at Likhaan’s clinic.

President Aquino’s support could be key to passing the bill to ensure that all women have access to modern birth control; it is hoped that the measure will be put to a vote in congress in the next three months. About 80 percent of the Philippines’ 95 million people are Roman Catholic and the Church seems likely to try to block the measure again. “Who are we to say that five children are too many? Children are gifts. If you interfere with that, you are denying that creative role God gave us,” says James Imbong, assistant legal counsel to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in Bloomberg. But should not the Church do more to help those — certainly including women — living in deep poverty to have a better life and better prospects?

Related Care2 Coverage

GOP Rep Compares Sandra Fluke To a “Studding Bulldog”

What If I Can’t Afford Birth Control? Just Google It!

Dispatches From The War On Women: Keep Women Out Of The Economy?

 

 

Read more: , , , , , , , , ,

Photo by aSIMULAtor

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

97 comments

+ add your own
3:06AM PDT on Sep 11, 2012

Remind me again... What century are we in?

9:49PM PDT on May 21, 2012

The catholic church has gone out of control in trying to control primarily women all over the world and in some of the most severe places which desperately need condoms for HIV prevention the stupid catholics say no.
Catholic church is evil!
Now they are working in the USA to totally turn women into chattel and are using the GOP dirty playbook to get their way. NO WAY ASSHOLES go back to stinking Rome and stay there and shut up you women hating freaks!

9:49PM PDT on May 21, 2012

The catholic church has gone out of control in trying to control primarily women all over the world and in some of the most severe places which desperately need condoms for HIV prevention the stupid catholics say no.
Catholic church is evil!
Now they are working in the USA to totally turn women into chattel and are using the GOP dirty playbook to get their way. NO WAY ASSHOLES go back to stinking Rome and stay there and shut up you women hating freaks!

6:42AM PDT on May 10, 2012

That headline is spot on for the catholic church: "...blocks birth control for poor..." For the wealthy, no problem. Every country where the christians are numerous reeks of poverty, illiterates, hunger, almost non-existent medical care, but lots of shoeless children begging. A minister told one of the women that pregnancy is the price you pay for having sex. Imagine. In the vicinity of this fabulous cathedral in Mexico City, on the same block, children begging. And the priest dared to go by in his chaffeur driven auto, nary a glance. Well, at least he did provide a job for one. Why does the congregation put up with this? When we finish getting rid of the tea party, maybe it's time to clean up our judeo/christianity stuff.

8:35AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012

This makes me so sad and mostly so mad..... LEAVE WOMEN ALONE!!

3:03PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Of course, the Catholic church is never about helping women achieve any kind of economic equality. As long as they're in the home, making babies, the men have all the power, make all the money and never have to account for oppressing millions of women in the country.

4:36AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Blocking Birth control legislation? Another brilliant move for the Catholic church.

9:22AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Well, that's what happens when people choose to embrace superstition as a way of life.
The pope could never tell me what to do!

3:05PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

The catholic church has no right to tell women that they cannot take birth control. They are just a bunch of ingnorant padophiles. I live in a small town and there are numerous men that claim that they were abused by priest. They like to keep the people poor and ingorant so that they can control them.

1:31AM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

There but for the grace of god go I.... I am so grateful that I can safely choose when and how many children to have. If a third of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion (despite being illegal in the Philippines), then surely universal access to safe contraception will lower the unwanted pregnancy rate, which would lower the abortion rate. So why are the same people who are anti-abortion also anti-contraception?!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.