Target: Chief Justice of Philippines Supreme Court Maria Lourdes Sereno
Goal: Commend court ruling that bolsters reproductive rights for women
The Philippine Supreme Court recently decided to uphold a reproductive law as constitutional, marking an important and crucial victory for women and girls in the nation. The ruling will require the government to provide free contraptions to the millions of poor women. Philippines’ birth rate is high, standing at 25 per 1,000 people, one of the highest in all of Asia. This ruling will not only bolster reproductive rights for women, but control the population. Sign this petition and commend the court’s ruling.
The bill – which was signed a year ago – not only requires that contraception be provided, but sex education as well. The bill has receive criticism from a predominantly Catholic nation. Opponents of the bill believed that the bill will devalue marriage and promote promiscuity. However surveys showed that 72% of the population actually support the bill, which is staggering considering how 80% of the population is Catholic.
The United Nations counts 3.4 million pregnancies in the Philippines annually. Half of these pregnancies are unintended, and the other third are aborted in facilities and methods that are not safe for the mother. It’s believed that 11 women die everyday from pregnancy related causes. It’s hoped that this new law will help to reduce the rate of mothers dying. Unfortunately while family planning offices provide free access to nearly all contraceptives to everyone, there are few of these centers in rural areas. Some of the locals who support the church have even banned the distribution of condoms and other contraceptives.
The law bans the use of abortion drugs, but requires health professions to provide medical care when complications arise from illegal abortions. The government will also train teachers to provide age and development appropriate sex education to girls ages 10 to 19. It will also include information on protection against discrimination, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, along with women’s and children’s rights.
There were some concessions made during this decision that some human rights groups find troubling, like making it unconstitutional for health care practitioners to refuse to provide reproductive health care services. There were seven other concessions that some found controversial. However, it is important to note that reproductive rights are being acknowledged to some extent in this country and the Philippines should be commended.
Dear Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno,
I am writing to commend your court’s decision on providing contraception to poor women in the rural areas of your country. I realize that rural areas do not have access to the family planning centers available in urban areas, and some locals even ban the distribution of contraception. I am glad you are making these options accessible to the poor.
I also wish to commend your country for providing sex education to young girls. It is important that young girls realize how their bodies work and know what their rights are. I am glad that this infrastructure is being put into place and I hope your nation continues to support reproductive rights, and decrease the rate of death during pregnancy.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bryancalabro via Wikimedia