According to a 2008 study (made public last week) by the Stomacher Institute, a non- profit organization which carries out research on reproductive health, there are an estimated 560,000 cases of induced abortions per year, resulting in some 90,000 women being hospitalized for post-abortion care; and about 1,000 deaths a year in the island nation. The Stomacher Institute, which worked on the study with the university of the Philippines Population Institute, said about half of the 3. 4 million pregnancies In 2008 were unintended.

The Department of Health (DOD) reports that, on average, Filipino women have one child more than they want. Abortion in the Philippines is an illegal and punishable act, with no exceptions even n the grounds of endangering a woman’s life, rape, or fetal impairment. The minimum prison term for an abortion is six months, and the maximum six years. Only traditional contraception methods (with high failure rates) are advocated In this conservative Catholic country. Modern contraceptives are often unavailable and unaffordable.

Potions Wee had cases where women were purposely made to wait while profusely bleeding. Others are treated without anesthesia, or not cleaned as part of post- operation care. Verbal abuse is also common. Outside the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, a church in the district of Quip, Manila, street vendors sell homemade herbal concoctions to induce menstruation. Others go to a local ‘helot’ or masseuse, a woman with no formal medical training, who uses Intense massage on the abdominal area to Induce abortion.

India Poss. (not her real name), 53, barely Fleisher elementary school. She used to become a ‘helot’. India prescribes Coyotes, a drug used for the treatment and prevention of gastric ulcers. Relatively inexpensive, but available only on the black market, Coyotes softens the cervix and induces labor. They drink one tablet and I insert two more in the vagina,” she said. Well aware of the risks, India said: “l tell them they need to have money for hospitalizing. I also make it clear that I’m not going to be responsible for anything that happens in the event of complications. Disdain Celia Marquee, 40, went too ‘hilltop have her sixth pregnancy terminated. She bled internally for days and became very weak. When she was brought to hospital, doctors openly showed their disdain, calling her “Ms. Abortionist” instead of her real name. Janice Amalgam, executive director of Alaskan, a women’s NAG that provides healthcare revises and family planning counseling, said maltreatment of women seeking post- abortion care is common in government hospitals. “We’ve had cases where women were purposely made to wait while profusely operation care.

Verbal abuse is also common. Some doctors think that this will teach these women a lesson. ” Covering up Photo: UNFIT Philippines The Department of Health reports that, on average, Filipino women have one child more than they want (file photo) To avoid police intervention, health staff sometimes deliberately misclassifying post-abortion cases as either medical or surgical, making sot-abortion data difficult to find in health facilities. In extreme cases, women are refused treatment by health staff who fear being implicated.

Under the Revised Penal Code of 1930, a woman who undergoes abortion, and anyone assisting her, faces imprisonment. A higher prison term will be imposed on the woman if the abortion is done to conceal her “dishonor”. Health professionals who provide abortion services or dispense abortive drugs risk This law has not been changed since pre-colonial times and is a direct translation of the Spanish Penal Code of 1870. Belgium, France, and Italy – also predominantly Catholic – permit abortion upon a woman’s request.

Spain permits abortion on grounds of rape and fetal impairment. Development goal at risk National health surveys conducted by the DOD in 2006 indicate that the maternal mortality ratio (MR.) was 162 deaths per 100,000 live births. An estimated 12 percent of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortions, according to the DOD surveys. Experts predict that the Philippines will not meet its Millennium Development Goal (MUG) to reduce the country’s MR. to 55 per 100,000 live births by 2015.

The MR. is listed as the MUG least likely to be achieved by 201 5, according to the UN Children’s Fund (EUNICE). Elizabeth Casual, a DOD officer in the Women’s Health Division, said the department was doubling its efforts to lower the MR.. “The DOD is determined to meet its commitment to reduce maternal deaths, whatever their cause by 2015. We have developed a comprehensive health care policy to provide services for a seamless continuum of care,” she said. These services, says Casual include increased access to contraception methods and proper post-abortion care. As/ids/CB