PHILIPPINES – The Philippines’ new post-abortion care policy

by Melissa Upreti, Jihan Jacob

International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics 2018;141(2):268-75

Forthcoming. DOI:  PDF at Wiley online


In 2000, a Philippine policy clarifying the legality of medical treatment for women with post-abortion complications was introduced to address unsafe abortion as a leading cause of maternal death, and reports of discrimination and abuse by healthcare providers against women who had abortions illegally. Despite its initial success as a pilot program, the policy’s implementation and expansion were not prioritized. The incidence of unsafe abortion has increased over the years and, in 2009, the right to post-abortion care was codified in national law, yet the mistreatment and abuse of women has continued in violation of medical ethics and the law. In 2016, following the demands of advocates and recommendations from national and international human rights bodies, the government introduced a new policy to strengthen the national framework for post-abortion care, clarifying the legal and ethical duties of health service providers and offering women formal avenues for redress against abuse. The new policy offers useful guidance for countries that are contemplating new ways to strengthen the quality of post-abortion care services in accordance with recognized standards of medical ethics and human rights.

VISUAL: Updates on sexual related issues, by Jen Gragera, 2013