The Philippines is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a mother or a baby. But there’s an incredible opportunity right now to change that.
Each year it is estimated that 230 women die for every 100,000 live births and 4,500 women die annually due to complications resulting from childbirth. 26 infants and 33 children under the age of 5 die for every 1,000 due to various sickness and illnesses that are preventable and curable. Only 62% of births are attended by a skilled physician and 50% of couples practice contraception. The population is sky-rocketing, practically unabated by contraception options, which is directly linked to lower incomes and increased poverty.
All of this can be changed with the Reproductive Health Bill. This bill advocates for a comprehensive range of programs and services addressing sexual and reproductive health, including education and universal access to both traditional and modern family planning services, all funded by the federal government. It has the potential to save lives and improve quality of life.
Unfortunately, the bill has been held up by legislative and religious debates for two decades, preventing women, especially in lower income groups, from obtaining reproductive health information and services.
Now we have the chance to ask President Benigno Aquino III to change that. While the Catholic Church is strongly advocating for the destruction of this bill, President Aquino III must respect and uphold the separation of Church and State as well as the will of his people. Last year, a survey suggested that a majority in the Philippines supported the bill.
Tell President Benigno Aquino III that it’s time for him to listen to his people, not the Catholic Church.