Tuesday, August 6, 2013

According to A European Biologist...

photo from the blog There's a cure for that

The Abortion Tragedy in The Philippines

I'm so tired of the gaggle of "Pro-Life" politicians in the Philippines.  You've seen them and unfortunately heard them:  Golez, Pacquiao, Enrile, and our favorite dork of the month, Sotto, harping on about the grave dangers of condoms, pills, and IUDs.  All, of course, propped up by the Philippine Mini-Popes, i.e. the CBCP.

Look, I'm a progressive liberal.  I'm about as liberal as a person can get.  When I say liberal I mean liberal in every way:  an economic liberal, a military liberal ("a dove"), and a social liberal.  I grew up in a liberal family, in a liberal culture, in a liberal country called Norway.

In my country, RH isn't an issue.  It hasn't been an issue since...well...it's never really been an issue.  This is because the Catholic Church holds absolutely no sway in Norway.  None.  The pope never visits us because we honestly don't want him to.  (We think he's a bigot, to be quite honest with you.)  In my country the government's been giving out free condoms and birth control pills since the 1960s,  and the state doesn't interfere in a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body.

In other words, abortion is legal.  More than that, it's free.  Abortion is included in the national health care system, and women have the right to have an abortion (during the first 12 weeks of gestation) at any hospital across the land.  I'm proud of this fact.  Damn proud.  I wouldn't want it any other way, nor would the vast majority of my fellow countrymen.  In other words, yes, I'm pro-choice.  (If you'd like to read my own take on the issue, and why I'm pro-choice, you can read my post 'When Does Life Begin?')

I get irritated when I hear "pro-lifers" in the Philippines (or wherever) claiming to be God's defenders of the unborn; claiming to know beyond a doubt that life begins the nanosecond a lone sperm brushes up against an ovum; shouting that abortion is "murder" and a danger to women.

Well duh.  Obviously it's a danger when it's illegal.  Obviously it's dangerous when women have no legal access to it and are forced to go to quack doctors, drink herbal concoctions, or attempt at-home abortions with barbeque sticks and clothes hangers.

Pro-lifers aren't pro-life at all.  What they are is pro-birth.  How the hell can someone call themself pro-life when they clearly don't really care what happens to children once they're born?  If they were pro-life they'd do everything within their power to cut down the incidence of abortion, not simply outlaw it.  And one of the best, cheapest, most effective ways to do just that, is contraception.

Being truly pro-life would include making it state policy to distribute condoms and other contraceptives to all women, including teens.

It would include a blitz of reproductive health education, from the school hall to the barangay hall.  It would include being a defender of life - of all life, especially the lives of the living - not just a defender of zygotes and embryos.

It would include a massive push to get street kids off the streets and into safe, decent, stable homes; encouraging adoption, making it easier and less costly to adopt, and treating same-sex adoptive couples the same as opposite-sex adoptive couples.

I scoff at that claim of Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto, who said on the floor of the Senate: "I stand up for life."

No, sir, what you stand up for is birth.  If you stood up for life, you'd do something to help the tens of thousands of already living children on the streets of Manila, rather than simply drive by them on your way to and from work each day in the backseat of your tinted-window SUV.  And by the way, handing out 500-peso bills at election time doesn't count as 'standing up for life'.

Pro-life?  Sure, you go right ahead and keep telling yourself that.

The same goes for the celibate, pro-birth bishops and cardinals, who get chauffered from their cathedrals to their cushy, air conditioned residences in their private SUVs.  That vow of poverty makes life pretty rough, doesn't it, gentlemen?

Abortion is an intensely touchy topic, that much is true, and it likely always will be.  The RH Bill does not give a thumbs up to abortion, seek to legalize abortion, or even create a path to potentially legalizing abortion.  So while the RH Bill has nothing at all to do with abortion, abortion is nevertheless tied in with the broader topic of reproductive health, because one affects the other.

Even though abortion is very much illegal in the Philippines, there is a very real abortion tragedy taking place every day across its 7,100+ islands.  This tragedy affects women, especially lower-income women, who are caught between a rock and a hard place:  unable to access effective, affordable contraception and the proper, medically-acurate information that goes along with it, while at the same time legally unable to make weighty decisions on their own in the event that they do experience an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy, which is partly the fault of not having full contraceptive choice in the first place.  

This is nothing short of a slap in the face to women's rights.  In 2012, Filipina women deserve so much better than this.

In 2010, the U.S.-based Center for Reproductive Rights put out a scathing report on the status of abortion in the Philippines, titled Forsaken Lives: The Harmful Impact of the Philippine Criminal Abortion Ban.  In it were cited tragic and shameful statistics backed up by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State, and the European Union, among others, and I highly recommend you read it.

Because abortion is illegal under any circumstance in the Philippines, this means that abortion is non-existent.  Correct?  Far from it.  The Philippines has a disproportionately high abortion rate, ranging from at least 560,000 to as many as 800,000 abortions per year, according to the World Health Organization.  That's a ratio ranging from at least 25:1000 to 37:1000.  Nobody really knows how high the figures go because, being illegal, secret abortions aren't exactly tallied and reported.

Since the Philippines' population is only increasing, and economic hardships on families certainly aren't decreasing, the 800,000 figure is likely much closer to reality.

I want to do a quick comparison of stats between the Philippines, where abortion is illegal under any circumstances, and my country, Norway, where abortion is legal.

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Why did I post this? Simple. He makes sense. He helped me in making my advocacy campaign. I'm thankful because it gave me more idea of how I can fight for my advocacy since my partner is not cooperating .. (getting my number and not texting!) Anyway, I also read other articles about women regarding abortion. Some were supported by their parents, some were not. Fortunately, I finished my script (almost, I can't think of the perfect ending). Maybe if I have the guts, I'll post my script here! If I have the guts....

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