Save Women's Lives, Decriminalize Abortion Now!

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In the Philippines, our restrictive abortion law has not stopped women from inducing abortions but has only forced women to induce abortion through unsafe means. These women are at risk of dying when they induce abortion unsafely in the following ways: 1) relying on persons lacking the necessary skills, 2) being in an environment not conforming to minimal medical standards, 3) using tablets without access to proper information or to trained health providers, 4) inserting foreign objects.

Because of our country’s restrictive abortion law, around 610,000 Filipino women were estimated to have induced abortions in 2012 alone— with at least three women dying each day and 100,000 others hospitalized due to complications.  This public health issue should urgently be addressed especially now with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in higher rates of unintended and unwanted pregnancies due to lack of access to contraceptives and higher incidences of rape, intimate partner violence, and sexual exploitation. 

Filipino women who have abortions are representative of a majority of Filipino women – poor, Roman Catholic, married, with at least three children, and have at least a high school education and identify various, overlapping reasons for inducing abortion. Poor women comprise two-thirds of those who induce abortion, using riskier abortion methods, thus disproportionately experiencing severe complications, clearly making abortion a social justice issue. Meanwhile, one out of eight women cites rape as their reason for inducing abortion. The harmful stigma women suffer from the restrictive law and the oppressive religious beliefs imposed on women will continue to place women's lives and health at risk.  

The restrictive, colonial, and antiquated 1930 Revised Penal Code abortion law has never reduced the number of women inducing abortion. It has only endangered the lives of hundreds of thousands of Filipino women by forcing them to turn to unsafe or clandestine methods. We believe it is high time the Philippine government decriminalize our antiquated and restrictive law on abortion, in compliance with its international human rights obligations and women’s right to life, health, equality, equal protection of the law, privacy and bodily autonomy, and against torture.                                         

Sign this petition and join women's rights organizations, reproductive health advocates and youth advocates in affirming the call to “Save Women’s Lives: Decriminalize Abortion Now!”