President Duterte told: Therapeutic abortion is allowed in current law to save women’s lives

Therapeutic abortion, or the medical procedure that terminates pregnancy to be able to save the life of a woman, is allowed in the Philippines, according to Clara Rita Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights, a Philippine women’s health group.

The statement was in reaction to an anti-abortion statement made by President Duterte in his State of the Nation Address on 24 July. Here is what she said:

“In Philippine jurisprudence, it is recognized that therapeutic abortion is allowed to save the life of the woman,” Padilla said. “Even Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a constitutionalist and a priest, has opined that abortion is allowed under the 1987 Constitution to save the life of the woman. Legal medicine books by Filipino medico-legal writers recognize the right to therapeutic abortions to preserve the life of the woman and to preserve her health.”

“Among the female ailments or medical conditions for which abortion may be conducted are dwarfism, hypertensive disorders, tuberculosis, diabetes, bronchial asthma, goiter, HIV, malaria, severe anaemia and malnutrition. These are illnesses that are more difficult to prevent among poor, rural and young women.”
“Pregnant women who are less than 18 [years old] or [older] than 35 years of age, have a fourth or more children, are battered by their husbands or partners, and have spinal metal plates, may die from complications from pregnancy and childbirth and may need access to safe abortion to save their lives and prevent life-long disability.”

“Women who suffered rape and incest often resort to unsafe abortion.”

“Abortion is common in the Philippines with about 70 women inducing abortion every hour. Due to lack of access to safe and legal abortion, three women die every day from unsafe abortion complications and 11 women are hospitalized every hour.”

“Several countries where Catholicism is widespread have liberalized laws on abortion, leaving the Philippines as ‘one of a handful countries worldwide which continue to penalize their women and adolescent girls for having abortions’.”

SOURCE: Inquirer Central Luzon, by Tonette Orejas, 26 July 2017 ; PHOTO, by Ryan Mabeza